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Cook County May Ban Smoking

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Illinois anti-smoking advocates are savoring the likely passage of a smoking ban across Cook County.

Cook County restaurant-goers may have only another 60 days to enjoy a smoke over dinner.

A ban on smoking in restaraunts and bars sailed through the county’s health committee Monday. It’s likely to pass the full council tomorrow.

The proposal comes on the heels of a general ban on smoking in Chicago.

Joel Africk’s with the American Lung Association. He says anti-smoking efforts in Illinois are gaining momentum.

""It’s been estimated that 40 percent of the U.S. population now lives in smoke-free communities,"" he says. ""So it’s no longer a matter of novelty. In fact, it’s something that people are finding themselves very comfortable with.""

Smoking rights and business groups didn’t put up much of a fight over the county-wide ban.

The Illinois Restaurant Association was conspicuously absent. That group fought hard against the ban in Chicago.

The county’s ban would leave a major loophole, though. Individual towns and suburbs can opt out of the ban.

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