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Aug 18, 2014 06:58 AM EDT

Illinois Governor Signs Law Banning Smoking on Campus

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Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a legislation that forbids smoking on campuses of state-supported colleges and universities, effective July 2015.

Senate Bill 2202, sponsored by State Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) and State Representative Ann Williams (D-Chicago), creates the Smoke Free Campus Act and is inclusive of both indoor and outdoor spaces on campuses.

The Smoke Free Campus Act mandates every institution to establish a community task force by December 31, 2014 to coordinate the implementation of the act. The law, however, allows smoking on campus inside parked, non-state, privately-owned vehicles.

Governor Quinn also signed House Bill 5868, sponsored by State Representative Kathleen Willis (D-Northlake) and State Senator John G. Mulroe (D-Chicago), which restricts the display of e-cigarettes, effective January 2015.

The alternative nicotine products must be sold from behind a counter in age-restricted areas or in a sealed case and should not be distributed from a self-service display.

The actions are part of Governor Quinn's goal to protect Illinoisians from dangers of secondhand smoke, and enhance the health and well-being of all.

"Illinois' college students shouldn't be subject to unwanted cigarette smoke on the campuses they call home," said Governor Quinn. "We want all schools to be healthy, clean and productive places of learning for Illinois' bright young minds. This new law will improve the health of our students and encourage healthier lifestyles after college graduation," Newstrib reports.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said that smoking is one of the leading preventable causes of death. Smoke-free campuses will make it difficult for students and staff to smoke frequently, thereby decreasing the percentage of smokers.

"Smoke free policies have been proven to result in lower smoking p revalence rates," American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest CEO Lew Bartfield said. "In addition, the new law will provide a healthy learning environment that promotes health and wellness for students, faculty, staff and visitors at all public colleges and universities in Illinois. The law not only minimizes toxic secondhand smoke exposure but also improves the campus environment by reducing smoking related litter."

Since assuming Office in 2009, Governor Quinn has long supported public health improvement projects in Illinois. In 2012, he increased the price of the cigarette packets by $1 and banned the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors in 2013.

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