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Workplace Smoking Rules in Illinois

Filed under Managing the Workplace. Fact checked on June 22, 2012.

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Employers in Illinois must comply with these state rules regulating smoking in the workplace.

Under the Smoke Free Illinois Act, smoking is prohibited in indoor public places and workplaces unless specifically exempted.

Smoking is prohibited within 15 feet of any entrance to a public place or place of employment. Smoking is also prohibited within a minimum distance of 15 feet from exits, windows that open, and ventilation intakes that serve an enclosed area where smoking is prohibited under the Smoke Free Illinois Act, to ensure that tobacco smoke does not enter the area.

Employers covered: Employers with one or more employees.

A place of employment is any area under the control of a public or private employer that employees are required to enter, leave, or pass through during the course of employment.

Written policy requirements: Employer policy not specified.

Posting requirements: No smoking signs or the international no smoking symbol must be clearly and conspicuously posted in every public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited by the Smoke Free Illinois Act, by the owner, operator, manager or other person in control of that place.

Every public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited must have posted at every entrance a conspicuous sign clearly stating that smoking is prohibited.

No smoking areas: In addition to the areas where smoking is prohibited under the Smoke Free Illinois Act, employers or any other person in control of any public place or place of employment may designate an non-enclosed area of a public place or place of employment, including outdoor areas, as an area where smoking is prohibited as long as signs are conspicuously posted as required by law prohibiting smoking.

Permitted smoking areas: Notwithstanding any other provision of the Smoke Free Illinois Act, smoking is allowed in:

  • private residences or dwelling places, except when used as a child care, adult day care or health care facility or any other home-based business open to the public
  • common smoking rooms in long-term care facilities for veterans
  • certain retail tobacco stores
  • hotel or motel rooms that are designated as smoking rooms, under certain conditions

For purposes of the smoking prohibition, a place of employment does not include enclosed laboratories in a university or government facility where smoking is exclusively conducted for the purpose of medical or scientific health-related research.

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