Starting July 1, 2015, all Illinois college campuses will become smoke free, after Governor Pat Quinn signed it into law in Aug. 2014. The Smoke Free Campus Act prohibits smoking anywhere on campus, including outside.
“We want all schools to be healthy, clean and productive places of learning for Illinois’ bright young minds. This new law will improve the health of our students and encourage healthier lifestyles after college graduation,” Gov. Quinn said, according to the Illinois Government News Network.
Smokers are only allowed to smoke inside their cars while driving around campus, and in special cases that fall under the Federal American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA).
The AIRFA was made to protect and preserve American Indians,Eskimo, Aleut, and Native Hawaiians rights to practice religious and cultural traditions. Otherwise, smoking is prohibited elsewhere.
“As someone who has asthmatic symptoms, going into public and running into smokers makes me feel sick, and really isn’t conducive to my learning experience,” Anna Williams, undecided major said.
Eradicating campuses of smoking will be beneficial to all students, staff, and faculty at any college, including here at Lewis and Clark, according to Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) (visit www.smokefree.illinois.gov).
In a 2006 report by the U.S. Surgeon General, it was estimated that exposure to secondhand smoke kills at least 65,000 people a year in the United States who do not smoke, including 2,900 in Illinois.
Inhaling secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer and coronary heart disease in healthy non-smoking adults and increases the risk of serious respiratory problems in children.
Some of these problems include a greater number and severity of asthma attacks and lower respiratory tract infections, according to the IDPH website.
Smoking doesn’t just risk the user’s health, but also everyone and everything around them. Campuses throughout Illinois are embracing the new act because of this.
“One of the most important things you can do for your health, the health of people around you and the health of your wallet is to quit smoking. The campus wellness committee works to promote health and wellness on campus. A smoke free campus is a vital part of that effort,” Sheri Banovic, Director of Nursing Education at L&C said.
For more information on the act itself, visit http://1.usa.gov/1xGkMmx. Information and free help with quitting is available via the Illinois Tobacco Quitline, 1-866-QUIT-YES, or quityes.org.