Illinois' legislature considering amending smoking ban

By Arnold Wyrick - bio | email

MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) -It's been just over three years since smoking was banned in all public places in Illinois.  And now the legislature is considering amending the smoking ban, to allow smoking in bars, private clubs, adult entertainment establishments and a percentage of hotel and motel rooms.

But, the secretary at the Elks B.P.O.E. 572 Lodge in Murphysboro says the smoking ban has been a good thing for their club.  "Our business has been up with our food services  we have for our members," said Merle Evans.

"And everybody seems to enjoy a fresh atmosphere there's not a lot of a smoke smell that some people find offensive."

But, if Illinois House Bill 1310 does pass in the General Assembly, and is signed into law it will take effect immediately.

Evans says no matter what happens in Springfield, things aren't going to change at the Elks.  "Even though there may be legislation that would compensate or change the original legislation, I don't think that we would entertain the idea of going back to a smoking facility. We would remain smoke free."

It's a different story across town at the DA-NITE Bar.  "It would do wonders for us really, not allowing people to smoke in here has really hurt our business," said Chandra Johnson manager of DA-NITE Bar.

"For a lot of people smoking and drinking go hand in hand whether they're full time smokers or not."

A bar owner would have to be able to prove that less then ten percent of their total sales comes from food, in order to qualify for a smoking license.  And an adult entertainment business would only qualify for a smoking license if their age limit was 18 years of age.

For the hotels and motels across the state they would be allowed to only have 25-percent of their rooms available for smokers, and they would have to all be on the same floor.

Any of the businesses that do qualify for a smoking license would also have to notify everyone, including employees that the business is now a smoking facility.

"Unfortunately it would be bad for those who don't like being surrounded in a cloud of smoke all the time. But for the majority it would bring our sales back up," said Johnson.

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