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Clean Indoor Air Act

What is the Clean Indoor Air Act

The Clean Indoor Air Act was signed into law on January 9, 1990 giving citizens the benefit of some protection from second hand smoke by limiting smoking in public places. The public must assume that all businesses are NONSMOKING unless an area is designated for smoking. An owner may designate an entire place as nonsmoking; however, with few exceptions, a whole building may not be designated as a smoking area.

What areas are not covered by the act

  • Bowling Alleys
  • Bars
  • Hotel Rooms
  • Private Enclosed offices occupied only by smokers
  • Factories, warehouses, and similar places of work not usually visited by the public, although the public and office areas of these locations would be covered.

How to comply with the Law:

Management must make reasonable efforts to prevent smoking in public places except in designated smoking areas. Examples of reasonable efforts include:

  • Posting appropriate signs
  • Using existing barriers and ventilation to protect nonsmokers
  • Contacting enforcement officials

When a hall or room is rented for a private event such as a meeting or reception, the person renting the room will decide the smoking policy for the event.

Suggested Guidelines

If the person in charge decides to designate a smoking area, that person may wish to use some of the following suggested guidelines to reasonably accommodate nonsmokers' needs. Since every facility will have different considerations, only general guidelines are given. Common sense will necessarily dictate your decisions.

  • To conspicuously display required signs, it is suggested that you place smoking-prohibited signs on or near the entrance doors and in the main lobbies of buildings subject to this law. It should not be necessary to display a sign in every room of a building.
  • Common traffic areas, such as hallways, stairways, waiting rooms and restrooms, should remain no-smoking areas.
  • Existing walls or barriers may be used to separate smoking and no-smoking areas only when they adequately prevent nonsmokers from being subjected to second-hand smoke.
  • Distance between smoking and no-smoking areas is another consideration toward achieving reasonable accommodations. Separation can only be sued to separate smoking and no-smoking areas when smoke is prevented from circulating where it would subject nonsmokers to second-hand smoke.
  • Mechanical devices and ventilation may be used in a designated smoking area only when the device ensures that nonsmokers are not subject to second-hand smoke.
  • When designating a portion of a place as smoking, it is recommended that a separate room, with a separate ventilation system directly vented to the outside, be provided.

How do I make a complaint:

If you feel a person or business is not following the law, you may do any or all of the following:

  • People may not know about the law. You can explain the Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act and ask that they follow it.
  • Call your local health department and make a complaint. They will call the owner to tell them about the law and how to comply. Repeat violators will be referred to the State’s Attorneys Office.
  • When possible, use only businesses that do obey the law. Be sure to let places that do not follow the law know why you are no longer a patron.
  • Take legal action against repeat offenders through the circuit court.

Who will know if I file a complaint?

The name of the person who files a complaint is confidential information and cannot be revealed. Section 9 of the Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act specifically forbids discrimination against any person for exercising rights provided by this Act.


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