11 months, 3 weeks ago by Jim Dewey
Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley said most businesses have complied but some businesses are allowing their patrons to smoke
Quincy Police officers - Adams County Sheriff's deputies and Adams County Health inspectors are stepping up enforcement of the Smoke Free Illinois Act.
The no smoking law went into effect in Illinois on January 1, 2008. Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley said most businesses have complied but some businesses are allowing their patrons to smoke. Copley said enforcement of the law is cumbersome and has been lax over the last few years. But one business owner approached the Chief saying that lack of enforcement was costing those who are in compliance money. The business owner told Copley that they are "losing business to those businesses who do illegally allow smoking."
Since the law went into effect, there have been 59 calls on smoking in businesses and four tickets have been issued.
Public Health Administrator Jerod Welch said the health department will assist. Welch said during their regular inspections, health inspectors will be able to document violations and turn that documentation over to law enforcement who can then write a ticket based on the evidence. Welch said "instead of follow up which is basically a warning letter from the health department, we'll now be able to, with their assistance, have tickets issued when we document that evidence."
Copely said the businesses will not get a warning, they will get a ticket. Fines for a first offense are $200.00 and increase to $2500.00 per offense for chronic violators.
Individuals may get a warning the first time they are caught but chronic violators will be ticketed. Fines start at $100.00 for a first offense.
Copely said officers will not necessarily be strictly enforcing the 15 foot rule with tickets, but will issue warnings to those violators. However, those smokers who drop the butts to the ground in front of an officer will be ticketed for littering.