Proposed ban would prohibit smoking in all public places
WILMETTE,Ill. (AP) Looking to take a similar ordinance in a nearby village a step further, a smoking ban is being proposed for all public places in this Chicago suburb.
The Wilmette Board of Health is recommending an ordinance that would include tougher restrictions on smoking than those outlined by a similar law recently passed in nearby Skokie.
The proposed ban would prohibit smokers in Wilmette from lighting up in restaurants, workplaces, lobbies, hallways, country clubs and other public areas.
``It's not just a matter of protecting customers but protecting employees from environmental tobacco smoke in their workplace,'' said Village Attorney Tim Frenzer.
On July 7, the Skokie Village Board passed what is considered the toughest ban yet in Illinois on smoking in public places, officials said.
The Skokie ordinance, which passed 6-1, bans smoking in enclosed public places except for bars, bowling alleys and tobacco shops.
The Skokie ordinance also allows restaurants to have smoking areas if owners build floor-to-ceiling barriers and install separate ventilation systems, unlike the measure being proposed in Wilmette.
The Wilmette Village Board rejected a proposed smoking ban in 1999. But officials are now revisiting the issue because of growing anti-smoking sentiment and information detailing the dangers of secondhand smoking, said Diana Hackbarth, chairwoman of the Wilmette health board and president of the American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago.
Still, opposition to the proposed ordinance is growing.
``A lot of people would be against it,'' said John Ortegel, a bartender for the local American Legion Post 46. ``About 85 percent of my people who come down here smoke.''
Village Board Trustee Beth Lambrecht owns a jewelry business and bans smoking in her store.
``The businesses are doing a pretty good job of self-regulating,'' she said.
The Judiciary Committee of the Wilmette Village Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance Monday.