Chicago Smoking Ban Takes Effect January 16 | WBEZ
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Chicago Smoking Ban Takes Effect January 16

The Chicago City Council has passed an ordinance that bans smoking in virtually every public place in the city. The comprehensive ban comes after years of unusually acrimonious debate in the council.

Alderman Ed Smith has championed the ban and wouldn't compromise when opponents sought to exempt restaurants and bars, but agreed to give bars and taverns until July, 2008 to comply. He says the approved ban doesn't cover everything he had hoped, but says, "the important thing is that in due time we'll help all the people we're trying to help."

When fully implemented, the ban will outlaw smoking in restaurants, bars, convention halls, and all public property such as schools, subway stops and even government vehicles. It exempts homes, tobacco stores, union halls and smoking-designated hotel rooms. Individual violators could be fined up to $100. Business and repeat offenders face fines up to $2,500.

The lone no vote came from 41st ward Alderman Brian Doherty, who says he is concerned mom and pop establishments could lose business to suburbs near his northwest side ward.

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