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Thursday, 03 January 2008 03:37

Illinois added to list of states to ban smoking

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On January 1, 2008, Illinois became a smoke-free state in all public areas. According to the organization Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights, over 50% of U.S. citizens are covered by some degree of smoke-free laws in public places.             

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The Smoke Free Illinois Act went into law on the first day of 2008. The act bans smoking in essentially all public places statewide, including bars and restaurants, subject to a few, narrow exemptions. The act supersedes all local bans that are less restrictive.

Wikipedia.com has an excellent source of smoking bans in the United States for all the states and in other countries of the world.

The federal government in the United States does not specifically have the power to enact a national smoking ban. This power, as are many other powers, is “reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people.”

Widespread medical research has determined that chronic tobacco smoking can likely lead to health problems such as cardiovascular disease (especially heart attack), lung cancer and diseases of the respiratory tract, emphysema and asthma, and other cancers such as of the tongue and larynx.

According to the Surgeon General of the United States, mortality rates for men who smoke 10-19 cigarettes a day are 70% more than men who do not smoke. Men who smoke 20-39 cigarettes a day have an increase in mortality rate of 90%.

The Canadian Lung Association states that the use of tobacco, in both men and women,  kills more people than AIDS, accidental poisoning, suicide, traffic accidents, murder, and fires, combined.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls tobacco use as "the single most important preventable risk to human health in developed countries and an important cause of premature death worldwide".

Smoking bans are instituted primarily as part of state laws for occupational safety and health law. They are often also instituted to protect innocent people from the effects of second-hand smoke.

For instance, Bangor, Maine has passed a controversial law that bans smoking in motorized vehicles in which children under the age of 18 years are present. Only a warning can be issued to people violating the law—no monetary fines are given out.

The states of California, Arkansas, and Louisiana also have implemented similar smoking bans in cars that contain children.

Just like laws that mandate the wearing of seat-belts and motorcycle helmets, smoking bans are controversial. However, many states of the United States and many countries around the world see the practical sense that such bans make in order to keep their citizens healthy and safe, which is a main reason for any enacted law.



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