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Commissioner asks to delay ban till '08

Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Daily Southtown
by Jonathan Lipman Staff writer

A proposal to delay Cook County's smoking ban until July 2008 will get a hearing within months, promised south suburban County Commissioner Elizabeth Gorman.

"There has to be a fair and equitable way to implement this -- where it's not negatively impacting that area -- where my district lies," said Gorman (R-Orland Park). "It's nonsensical."

Gorman introduced the proposal Tuesday and said she'd soon call a meeting of the public health committee, which she leads, to consider it.

The county's ban on smoking in nearly all public places is set to take effect March 15. It affects the unincorporated areas of Cook County and any village or city that does not have its own smoking ordinance.

Tinley Park, Orland Park and Oak Forest imposed smoking bans at the beginning of this year and voted Friday to lift the bans at least temporarily after complaints from business owners.

Gorman said she'd like to see the issue decided statewide. But for now, she wants the county to push back its ban to match Chicago's. The city's ban already is in effect for restaurants, but bars and taverns have until July 2008 to comply.

Gorman said she believes she has enough votes for passage, but she will get fierce resistance from the ban's original sponsor, North Side Commissioner Mike Quigley (D-Chicago).

"There is not a single study out there in the world that's shown that smoking bans have a negative economic impact," Quigley said. "Moving this direction is a horrible mistake."

Commissioner Joan Murphy (D-Crestwood) said she supported Gorman's call for a rollback until there is a statewide ban.

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