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Chicago Smoking Ban Slated for April 1, 2006

By Rachelle Bowden in News on Sep 30, 2005 11:58AM

Next Wednesday the City Council is expected to approve an ordinance that will ban smoking in all restaurants, bars, and all of Chicago's indoor public spaces. If approved, the ban would go into effect on April 1, 2006 - that's 2 weeks after St. Pat's day, so don't worry about the freedom to smoke your lungs out on that holiday. And it's not an April Fools joke!

2005_09_cigarette.jpgOf course, smoking would still be permitted in public walkways and outdoor spaces like parks, festivals, and Navy Pier. And instead of banning smoking withiin 25 ft of a building's entrance, the ban would say only 10 ft. This will allow for smoking at sidewalk cafes.

For the businesses that say their business will be hurt by a ban, Chicago is following New York's lead by creating a "hardship exemption." Businesses will have one smoke-free year to submit sales receipts to prove sales have dropped by 15% or more. If they can prove it, then they'll be allowed to have a smoking area in their place, but only if it's no more than 25% of the square footage.. and it has to be physcically seperate.. AND it has to have a self-closing door.

Health Committee Chairman Ed Smith says he thinks they've got the votes needed to approve the ban, as does Ald. Pat O'Connor, the unofficial City Council floor leader. As for Daley, himself, he's been a little wishy washy saying they a "comprimise" is needed.. .. ?