AMA Applauds Illinois' Smoking Ban; Law Begins January 1

The American Medical Association issued a press release Monday applauding Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich for signing into law a new statewide smoking ban, calling the legislation "the strongest clean indoor air law in the country." The new law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2008, will prohibit smoking in all public and work places, including restaurants and bars.

"The new law is a victory for all Illinois residents, workers, and visitors, who will soon benefit from clean, smoke-free indoor environments that will protect them from the deadly dangers of secondhand smoke," said AMA President Ronald M. Davis, M.D. "Secondhand smoke causes cancer, heart and lung diseases in nonsmokers and is responsible for nearly 3,000 deaths each year in Illinois alone. Thousands more are affected by heart attacks, asthma episodes, and respiratory distress because of secondhand smoke."

Davis added in the statement that secondhand smoke-related deaths are preventable and that the AMA continues to call on every state to enact statewide smoke-free laws to protect citizens' health.

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