THREE YEARS AGO IN IDPH HISTORY
The state launched the Illinois Smoke-Free Restaurant Recognition Program in 2000 to encourage restaurant owners to adopt a smoke-free policy for the benefit of patrons and employees.
The Department began the initiative to highlight restaurants in Illinois that have voluntarily gone smoke-free, to provide information about restaurants that are smoke-free and to raise public awareness of the dangers of second-hand smoke.
Second-hand smoke is a combination of the smoke from a burning cigarette and the smoke exhaled by the smoker. It contaminates the air and is retained in clothing, curtains and furniture. More importantly, it represents a proven health hazard.
In Illinois, 2,650 nonsmokers die each year from disease caused by inhaling second-hand smoke and 19,000 smokers die from smoking-related illnesses.
The U.S. Surgeon General has reported second-hand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, of which, at least 43 are known to cause cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that second-hand smoke is made up of an unhealthy combination of nicotine, carbon monoxide and cancer-causing agents. The EPA found that second-hand smoke worsened the condition of children with asthma and children exposed to second-hand smoke may have higher incidence of bronchitis, pneumonia and middle ear infections. The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that a non-smokers risk of heart disease can increase by 25 percent with exposure to second-hand smoke.
Establishments choosing to participate in the program receive a certificate signed by the Governor and Director of Public Health designating them as smoke-free restaurants and are included in a list on the Departments Web site. The first smoke-free restaurant certificates were awarded in May 2000 and by 2003 more than 4,000 restaurants in Illinois have chosen to be smoke-free.
... Years Ago in Public Health
A Timeline of the Illinois Department of Public Health