Senate passes bill to ban smoking at state colleges

Senate passes bill to ban smoking at state colleges

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Illinois Senate voted late Wednesday to ban smoking at all state-supported colleges--outdoors as well as indoors.

The measure now goes to the house, where opponents are expected to mount an all-out fight to block it.

If this proposal became law, smoking would be illegal indoors and out, even on the broad expanse of the University of Illinois' world-renowned agricultural research farms.

At UIC, while we found plenty of smokers, few would speak against the proposed ban---except Rudy Mendoza.

Mendoza works as a cook at the student center and is trying to quit his tobacco habit.

"I'm not really that much of a smoker, but I smoke getting out of work right now," Mendoza said.

Others were enthusiastic about the general assembly's proposed ban on smoking at state-supported college campuses; nearly all of them non-smokers.

"I think it's a great idea, because it's very inconvenient coming out of class and walking into a puff of smoke," says UIC student Cakeshia Thompson.

"I'm pretty sure if we can't breathe it in, I'm pretty sure the animals can't breathe it in either. And the crops," says student Janelle Samuels.

The state university system's vast research farms downstate were actually one focus of Wednesday's debate in the State Senate.

In the end, a bare majority of 30 senators voted to approve the ban, sending it to the Illinois House. Sources there said its fate was uncertain, though it's a popular idea on UIC's distinctly urban setting.

"Good idea," another student says. "Because I hate when there's smoke blowing in my face like walking around campus."

Officials at the UIC campus have decided not to wait for the general assembly. They've announced that a total ban on smoking -- including the use of electronic cigarettes -- will take effect this summer. Smokers there will have to step off-campus to get a nicotine fix.

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