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Kane County researching legality of outdoor smoking ban
By James Fuller | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 5/19/2010 12:02 AM

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Smoking is already illegal inside the state's bars and restaurants, and now Kane County will research the legality of implementing an outdoor smoking ban as well.

The research follows a push from Stacy Blaszak, a resident of Aurora Township, who pleaded Tuesday with the county board's Development Committee to consider such a ban.

"This is a very strong issue to a lot of people," Blaszak said. "In my personal area where I live, everyone is about nine feet away from somebody's property line. Even with closed windows (smoke) seeps its way in, especially if you have multiple people smoking. There's an issue from babies' to children's health to pets to people like me with breathing disabilities. These smokers, nothing personal against them, but they don't really have a constitutional right to smoke. But people do have a right and a need to breathe."

Blaszak said she prepared a 50-page packet of research she's conducted on all aspects of outdoor smoking and its public health impacts. Blaszak said having a local law limiting outdoor smoking could open the door to lawsuits if someone feels their personal health or living space is under "assault" by someone smoking outside and, thus, violating the law. Blaszak said communities like Worth and Glenview already have laws limiting outdoor smoking. Kane County staff, however, said they have no knowledge of such laws.

Development Committee Chairman Cathy Hurlbut directed staff to research the laws in Worth and Glenview that Blaszak cited and report back for further discussion at a future committee meeting. Hurlbut indicated she is skeptical about the legality of creating a local law banning all smoking in outdoor spaces that would include someone's backyard or front porch.

"I'm very concerned about private rights to activity on your own property," Hurlbut said. "But this will be back on the agenda again."

Blaszak declined further comment when approached after the meeting.