It actually happened. The proposal for a statewide smoking ban scored overwhelming approval in the House Tuesday, with 73 lawmakers voting in favor of the ban and 42 voting against it. Both the House and the Senate approved the same measure, sending it to the governor's desk. If Blagojevich signs it into law as expected, businesses would have until January 1 to comply. All bars, riverboats, restaurants and bowling alleys would be smoke-free.
Numerous municipalities, including Springfield, have enacted smoking bans, but opponents say businesses operating just outside city limits or in unincorporated areas gain an unfair advantage by not having to comply with the local smoking bans. The statewide legislation approved May 1 aims to even the playing field for businesses in all communities.
Smoking bans in other states met customer opposition after winning approval. However, Kathy Drea, director of public policy for the American Lung Association, says this type of reaction should blow over in a matter of weeks.
"People generally adapt very quickly, even in Springfield,” she said immediately after the winning vote. “In the beginning, there was a lot turmoil, but people adapted. And that's what will happen in the state, too. This is a homerun for the residents of Illinois."