State News
6:57 am
Thu March 21, 2013

IL lawmakers to ban smoking on college campuses

Illinois lawmakers banning smoking, completely, at universities and community colleges.

Shanna Harrison is a graduate student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. As a student senator, she helped create a non-binding referendum to start discussions on a possible smoking ban. Nearly seven of every 10 students who voted approved the measure.

"When two-thirds of a voting population asks you to have a discussion about a smoke-free campus, we can't ignore their call," says Harrison.

The U of I eventually approved a smoking ban, which will go into effect this November. Now, Senator Terry Link has introduced a plan that will prohibit smoking at all state universities. It would require schools to be totally smoke free by next July. 

Link, a Democrat from Waukegan, was also sponsor of the state law passed five years ago that bans smoking in bars and restaurants. He says this smoke free issue also requires statewide attention.

"A lot of people could have done it on their own, but turned to us and asked for uniformity," says Link.

Opponents say that infringes on universities' rights to make their own decisions.