Illinois’ public colleges and universities could be forced to stamp out smoking on their campuses by next summer if a bill facing members of the House becomes law.
The measure, sponsored by Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan), squeaked out of the state Senate on Wednesday by a 30-22 vote after failing to get the necessary 30 votes in late April. Link also championed the Smoke-Free Illinois Act that passed in 2008 and made it illegal to smoke in bars and restaurants.
“It’s the wave of the future,” Link said. “And I think young people are realizing smoking is not the best thing for you, and less and less are starting, which is a great sign.”
If Link’s proposal becomes law, Illinois will join Arkansas, Iowa and Kansas as the only states with statewide laws banning smoking on college campuses.
Under the bill, state-supported universities and community colleges would have to enact a campus smoking ban no later than July 1, 2014, and would have to form a task force charged with implementing the act and carrying out disciplinary actions as it chooses.
More than two dozen Illinois colleges and universities already ban smoking, including the seven City Colleges of Chicago. Most recently joining that list are the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which are set to implement smoking bans in July 2013 and January 2014, respectively.