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All enclosed public places and places of employment to go smoke-free

Monday, March 12, 2007
Cook County Public Health

Media contact: Kitty Loewy: 708-492-2015 pager: 708-643-9432

Beginning March 15, businesses and establishments in Cook County must be smoke-free, as mandated by the Clean Indoor Air Ordinance that was passed March 15,2006 by the Board of Cook County Commissioners. The Ordinance prohibits smoking in all enclosed public places and places of employment within Cook County, except for private residences, designated rooms in hotels and long term care facilities, and private clubs and lodges. Smokers may not light up within fifteen feet of any entrance to an enclosed area where smoking is prohibited.

The Ordinance covers all of Cook County including unincorporated areas and those municipalities that have not adopted their own smoke-free regulations.

“The value of this ordinance will be measured in the number of lives saved and illnesses prevented,” said Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) chief operating officer, Stephen A. Martin, Jr., Ph.D, M.P.H. “Cook County residents are smoking less than ever before, and the majority of them want a healthy, safe, smoke-free environment for themselves and their families. I, along with others in the public health field am grateful to the Board for having the foresight to pass this essential ordinance.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified secondhand smoke as the third leading cause of preventable death in the country, killing an estimated 53,000 non-smokers each year. Employees who
page 2/clean indoor air ordinance

work in smoke-filled businesses suffer a 25-50% higher risk of heart attack and higher rates of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

“Public health experts determined many years ago that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” said Dr. Martin. “We feel that no employee should have to choose between their health and a paycheck.”

The Ordinance calls for signage to be posted at all public places that clearly states the facility is smoke-free and also for all ash trays to be removed from the premises.

Under the Clean Indoor Air Ordinance, the Cook County Department of Public Health is responsible for public education, and complaint response and enforcement.  Enforcement activities for those communities who have not adopted their own ordinance will begin on March 15, 2007. Owners of establishments found in violation, as well as smokers, may be fined up to $2500 for repeat violations. Violations of the ordinance can be reported to CCDPH at 708-492-2127, or residents can download a reporting form at

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