Smokefree DeKalb County

Smoke Free Illinois Act (SFIA)

The Smoke-free Illinois Act prohibits smoking in virtually all public places and workplaces, including offices, theaters, museums, libraries, educational institutions, schools, commercial establishments, enclosed shopping centers and retail stores, restaurants, bars, private clubs and gaming facilities. Illinois has taken this important step to protect its residents, workers and visitors from the harmful and hazardous effects of secondhand smoke. (Effective January 1, 2008).  For more information on the SFIA, visit

Why go smoke-free?

Up to 65 % of air can be exchanged between units through tiny cracks and crevices, involuntarily exposing individuals to secondhand smoke from adjacent units (thirdhand smoke). Going smoke-free in multi-unit buildings benefits landlords, property owners and tenants of all ages:

  • Reduces operating costs: In units where smoking is permitted, the cost to get the unit ready for a new tenant can be two to seven times greater than in smoke free units.
  • Renters prefer smokefree housing: Research shows the majority of renters support the implementation of a smokefree policy in their multi-unit housing.
  • Reduces risk of fire: Smoking is a leading cause of residential fire and in 2011, Illinois had approximately 500 smoking-related residential fires.
  • Reduces infant mortality: Secondhand smoke is a leading trigger of asthma attacks and other respiratory problems and a known cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Gain green building credits: Numerous “Green Building” programs, such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program and the Enterprise Community Partners’ Green Communities initiative, provide credit in their programs for smoke-free properties.
  • Better access to state affordable housing tax incentives: Several states currently offer tax credit incentives to developers of low-income housing for new housing projects that include a smokefree policy.
  • Smokefree policies are legal: There is no federal, state, or local law that prohibits a property from adopting a smokefree policy.

What is Secondhand Smoke?

Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke exhaled by smokers. A person can be exposed to secondhand smoke in cars, homes, workplaces and public places.

Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, 70 are known to cause cancer. According to the 2010 US Surgeon General’s report, ‘there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.’ A person sitting within three to six feet of a smoker outdoors can be exposed to levels of secondhand smoke similar to those indoors.

For residents of multi-unit housing (condominiums and apartment buildings), secondhand smoke is a major concern given that it can migrate from other units and common areas. It can travel through doorways, cracks in walls, electrical lines, plumbing, and ventilation systems.

What is Thirdhand Smoke?

Thirdhand smoke is a relatively new concept and is the residual nicotine on indoor surfaces by tobacco smoke. Studies show that thirdhand smoke sticks to skin, hair, clothes, furniture, walls, carpets, etcetera, long after smoking has stopped.

Infants, children and nonsmoking adults are particularly at risk of tobacco-related health problems when they inhale, ingest or touch substances containing thirdhand smoke. Thirdhand smoke cannot be eliminated by airing out rooms, opening windows, using fans or air conditioners, or confining smoking to only certain areas of a home. Thirdhand smoke remains long after smoking has stopped.

Want to Quit Smoking?

If you smoke and are interested in quitting, you are not alone and help is available. There are many resources that can provide support and offer assistance in helping you break that nicotine addiction to quit smoking successfully. Although the process can be difficult, with commitment and motivation you can become tobacco-free for good! Take that first step: learn more about strategies for quitting smoking and available quit smoking resources.

Smoking Cessation Resources

The Illinois Tobacco Quitline offers trained respiratory therapists to counsel and guide you through the quitting process at no charge. Call toll free at 1-866-784-8937.  For more information, visit

Contact Us

Phone: 815-748-2435

Submit a smoking complaint