Smoking ban: 5 years later

We've all heard the term, second hand smoke.

Since the Smoke Free Illinois Act went into effect in 2008, the exposure to public smoking has been reduced.But health officials are still worried about the dangers of second hand smoke and it's long term effects on your health.

The Smoke Free Illinois Act states that public places and places of employment must be completely smoke free indoors and within 15 feet of windows, entrances and exits and any ventilation intakes. Amanda Crumrine with the Adams County Health Department says that the 15 feet rule is very important.Crumrine says, " If you are farther away from the building there is more space for the smoke to disseminate and it won't be like that cloud of smoke that you are walking through going into and out of the building. If you are entering the building yourself and you are a non-smoker, you can avoid that smoke if it's farther away. Whereas if you are walking right through it, you are receiving that smoke."

You may be surprised to learn that there are two types of second hand smoke .Sidestream smoke comes directly from the lighted end of the cigarette, cigar or other smoking instrument.And...Mainstream smoke that comes directly out of the smokers mouth.

Crumrine says, " There's more cancer causing agents in that sidestream smoke that comes right out of the actual cigarette, cigar, etc. There's more cancer causing agents than what comes out of the smokers mouth. Now second hand smoke is a mixture of those two types. So it's very important just to realize that second hand smoke is a known carcinogen. They know that it causes cancer."

Crumrine also says that real danger to the smoker and the non-smoker are the chemicals in the tobacco.She says, " There are over 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke. And so out of those 7,000 chemicals, 250 are known to be harmful and at least 69 are known to cause cancer."

The danger of second hand smoke is magnified when it comes to children whose lungs are still developing.

Crumrine says, " Their bodies are just developing, their lungs are developing and when they are are in a smoke filled environment, their asthma, their infections, their hospital visits their all going to up and that's something that's really not fair for these children who are not making that choice themselves."

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To learn more about the Smoke Free Illinois Act, click here .