Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Smoke-Free Illinois - Day 2

I, for one, am delighted about Smoke-Free Illinois. But, then, I gave up cigarette smoking when I was 7 years old. My mom said I'd never live to see 8, if I didn't quit!

Today is the first business day of Smoke-Free Illinois 2008. This means that it is illegal to smoke tobacco products in public places: offices, restaurants, stores, commercial buildings - all those places where smokers have been used to lighting up.

Schaumburg went smoke-free within 15' of building entrances last year. This produced many contacts between high-rise office building security staff and smokers who gathered just outside entrances. But the smokers learned to move away from entrances, after repeated nudges from security staff.

So, what will be the story in Woodstock, especially when it's 1 degree on the thermometer?

Will restaurant owners hide the ashtrays? Will they direct customers to discard their cigarettes? Not just step outside, but step away from the building entrance?

Will employers start docking employees who must have the nicotine fix every 30-60 minutes?

Will Jewel-Osco create an employee rest area at the back of the building, so that customers no longer have to run the gauntlet from the Hallmark store to the door at Jewel and hold their noses as they walk past the "smoking area"?

Will there be groups of smokers hovering exactly 15' from store entrances on the Square? Will there be enough complaints from non-smokers on the Square that Woodstock will enact a ban on smoking on sidewalks around the Square?

Will businesses place buttcans on the Square, so that smoking customers will have places to properly dispose of lighted cigarettes before entering stores and businesses? Who will clean the sidewalks of discarded cigarettes?

How many times will fires have to be put out in the trash receptacles around the Square? Will Woodstock Fire/Rescue District provide fire extinguishers to store owners near the sidewalk trash receptacles, to reduce the cost of running a fire engine downtown to snuff out burning papers? Will they bill the smoker who dumped his lighted cigarette there?

Remember... don't blame the restaurant owner who tells you that you can't smoke in his restaurant. It's the law.

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