Thursday, December 13, 2007

Smoking Ban Coming Soon

The statewide smoking ban on public places goes into effect on January 1st but it seems we don't have rules on what is legal and what isn't, according to this story from the Southern. Not even the Jackson Co. Health Department is even sure what the rules are:

Officials from the Jackson County Public Health Department convened and hosted the meeting. After a slideshow presentation, Angie Bailey of the health department began fielding questions.

"We know it's not a perfect law," she said. "The rules and regulations are in the process of being written, but the ban goes into effect Jan. 1."

The rules and regulations Bailey was speaking of are still being drafted at the state level but, until then, the law still applies, said Kim Parker, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Health.

"The distinction between the rules and the law is that the rules explain how the act will be implemented, she said. "The law goes into effect Jan. 1 whether the rules are in place or not."

Right now, it appears the ban only covered enclosed spaces i.e. four walls and ceiling. Beer gardens appear exempt, at least the section of them that is 15 feel away from the enclosed space. I know this is for the benefit of public health but you'd think putting the rules in place sufficiently far ahead of time so that people affected could plan would be a no brainer.

On the other hand, this is the state government that dithered around for months over electric rates, even knowing the date the rate freeze would expire and having plenty of time to prepare.

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