Picking Sides on Illinois' Smoking Debate

New proposals draw a line in the side

By Lisa Balde
|  Thursday, Mar 10, 2011  |  Updated 7:12 PM CDT
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An <a title=Illinois House committee approved proposals that would tweak the current ban signed into law by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich." />

Phil Rogers, Joel Africk, Pat Caroll,

An Illinois House committee approved proposals that would tweak the current ban signed into law by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

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Smoking ban in Illinois?

It's a familiar, touchy topic for state residents, who a little more than three years ago picked a side on whether smoking inside bars and restaurants should be prohibited. 

On Wednesday, the question resurfaced when a House committee approved proposals that would tweak the current ban signed into law by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

According to the proposals, smoking would be allowed in segregated, ventilated rooms in licensed casinos. Local liquor control commissions would get to issue smoking licenses to bars and other adult-oriented establishments that make no more than 10 percent of their revenues from food sales.

Agree? Disagree? Discuss.

Bar owners and casino representatives that cited a loss in revenue since the 2008 ban support the proposals. Those on the opposite side of the argument say the ban prevents second-hand smoke and takes away smelly side effects of smoke in public places.   

Facebook users threw out their opinions en masse, some giving resounding "No!" responses to whether they'd want to see smoking return to some bars and casinos.

"Why do we always have to give up our rights to clean air to breath for the sake of money????" Dee Bode asked.

"why should the non smokers have to give up "their air" for it to be contaminated? Don't make the ashtmatic and allergic ppl give up their right to breathe clean air," Natalie Hauter Miller replied.

Some stood up for business rights, including Brian Lee. "That was something taken away and FORCED upon all business owners,it is their own business and run it as they see fit to do.NOBODY has any right to come into any business and dictate how you should run it and what to do."

"It will bring in MILLIONS in revenue," John J Ortega said.

Will the ban be lifted? Not with these proposals, though it puts the idea of smoking in public places back on the table.

"The ozone belongs soley to non-smokers? Take a wiff folks cuz there's way more dangerous things in the air that WE ALL breathe," Charley Reiser said.

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