"When parents send their kids off to college, they want them to be
safe. Cigarettes are one of the leading causes of dorm fires, and
this law could help prevent future tragedies," said Blagojevich.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, smoking is the
third-leading cause of fires in U.S. college dorms. In addition,
college students who live in smoke-free dorms are 40 percent less
likely to begin smoking than students who live in unrestricted
housing, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Senate Bill 2465, sponsored by Rep. John Fritchey, D-Chicago,
and Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, amends the Illinois Clean Indoor
Air Act. Effective immediately, the bill prohibits smoking in public
and private college and university dorms. It applies to dining
facilities, laundry rooms, lobbies, hallways and other areas. Only
commercial facilities such as coffee shops and restaurants are
exempt from the law. Aside from dorms, it also includes sorority and
fraternity houses that are owned and operated by a university.
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"I am pleased that Illinois has taken this step in making dorm
life safer for our students," said Fritchey. "Not only is smoking
the third-leading cause of fires in U.S. dorms, but evidence
continues to mount regarding the dangers of exposure to secondhand
smoke. As such, this new law has multiple health and safety benefits
for students living in dorms on Illinois campuses."
"Cigarette smoking poses a significant health and safety risk for
everyone on campus," Cullerton said. "Simple separation of smokers
and nonsmokers within the same airspace is not enough. It's
important that all students have the opportunity to live in a
healthy, smoke-free environment."
Last year the governor signed a bill that allows home-rule
municipalities to prohibit smoking in public places. Illinois joins
several others states that have banned smoking in college dorms,
including Wisconsin, New Jersey and Connecticut.
[News release from the governor's