'Thanks from the bottom of our lungs'

5th anniversary of the Smoke-Free Illinois Act

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[January 03, 2013]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Department of Public Health would like to say, "Thanks from the bottom of our lungs," as it celebrates the fifth anniversary of the Smoke-Free Illinois Act, or SFIA. When this act became effective on Jan. 1, 2008, Illinois was the 13th state to have a comprehensive law prohibiting smoking in workplaces, restaurants, bars, theaters, museums, schools, casinos and other enclosed public places. This year on Jan. 1, the department launched the "Thanks from the bottom of our lungs" campaign to encourage Illinoisans to continue to support smoke-free environments and the health benefits they bring.

"Breathing in secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer and heart disease in adults who don't smoke. In children, secondhand smoke can increase the risk of serious respiratory problems, such as more frequent and severe asthma attacks, as well as respiratory tract infections," said Illinois Department of Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck. "Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of early death in the United States, but thanks to the Smoke-Free Illinois Act, we can collectively take a breath of fresh air in Illinois, knowing that more people than ever are enjoying smoke-free environments."

A 2006 U.S. Surgeon General report estimated that exposure to secondhand smoke kills around 50,000 people a year in the United States, including about 2,000 people in Illinois.

After the SFIA was enacted in 2008, the number of people who reported smoking in Illinois declined from 21.3 percent in 2008 to 16.9 percent in 2010. The number of people who called the Illinois Tobacco Quitline increased dramatically after the SFIA became law, rising from 7,629 calls in 2008 to 24,575 calls in 2012, a 45 percent increase.

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Most adults, 91 percent, report no exposure to secondhand smoke in indoor public places in Illinois. Continued efforts to support the SFIA include eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke in outdoor areas such as hospital or college campuses, as well as in multiunit housing.

For help quitting smoking, call the Illinois Tobacco Quitline at 1-866-QUIT-YES (866-784-8937). For more information on the Smoke-Free Illinois Act, visit http://www.idph.state.il.us/smokefree/sf_info.htm.

[Text from Illinois Department of Public Health file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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