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Measure banning vaping indoors in public places clears Illinois General Assembly

A measure that would ban the use of electronic cigarettes inside of public buildings in Illinois needs only a signature from Gov. JB Pritzker to become law after it received final approval from lawmakers this week.

House Bill 1540 passed the Senate on a 42-11 vote this week after passing the House 85-22 in March, clearing both chambers with bipartisan support.

The measure expands the Smoke Free Illinois Act, which bans smoking in public buildings and within 15 feet of a building’s entrance, to include e-cigarettes and vapes.

“We have more and more young people who vape instead of using combustible cigarettes, so I thought it was critical for the health of our whole state that we include e-cigarettes in the Smoke Free Illinois Act,” Sen. Julie Morrison, a Democrat from Lake Forest and sponsor on the bill, said in an interview.

The bill also permits retail tobacco stores that derive at least 80 percent of their gross revenue from the sale of tobacco or electronic cigarettes and equipment to allow indoor smoking of electronic cigarettes on their premises.

According to the American Heart Association, e-cigarettes were the most commonly used form of tobacco in 2019. Additionally, the number of students exposed to secondhand smoke as a result of vaping has risen in recent years, with 1 in 3 students being exposed.

“Just because (e-cigarettes) aren’t typical cigarettes does not mean that their secondhand smoke effects are any less impactful and harmful to the general public,” Ally Lopshire, government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said in an interview.

“There’s absolutely no reason a person — from a pregnant woman to a young child — should be exposed to harmful e-cigarette products while in public,” Morrison said in a statement. “It’s about time we set a clear standard that protects non-smokers and further de-normalizes tobacco use.”