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Home » Chicago Laws, Chicago-specific Guide, Healthy Homes, Landlord & Tenant Rights, Mold, Rental Laws, Smoking

Indoor Air Quality & Smoking

last updated on November 2, 2009 – 12:22 PM6 comments

The new Chicago Clean Indoor Air Ordinance was signed into law on Feb. 13, 2008 and supersedes the Smoke Free Illinois Act. The new law is intended to protect patrons and workers against the dangers of secondhand smoke.

As of February 13, 2008 smoking is prohibited in:

  • All enclosed workplaces;
  • All restaurants;
  • All bars;
  • All healthcare facilities;
  • Public places including government buildings, convention facilities, laundromats, public transportation facilities and shopping malls;
  • Public restrooms, lobbies, reception areas, hallways and other common use areas in public buildings, apartment buildings and condominium buildings;
  • Within 15 feet of the entrance to enclosed public places;
  • Recreational areas including enclosed sports arenas, stadiums, swimming pools, ice and roller rinks, arcades and bowling alleys; and
  • City government vehicles.

Regulations, Fines & Fees

The Department of Public Health and the Department of Business Affairs and Licensing will monitor compliance with the ordinance during routine inspections. The City will also respond to complaints made to 311. Individuals who are smoking in areas prohibited by the ordinance are guilty of an infraction punishable by fines of up to $250.

More About the New Ordinance

The updated Chicago Clean Indoor Air Ordinance was passed by the Chicago City Council in January 2008. It replaces current law, passed in December 2005 and supersedes the Smoke Free Illinois Act. The new law is intended to protect the health of patrons and workers against the dangers of tobacco smoke, including secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is known to cause cancer and heart disease, and “safe” levels of secondhand smoke have not been identified.

Full Text of the Chicago Clean Indoor Air Ordinance of 2008


  • JC says:

    Can I call the city on the below neighbors, who happens to be the landlord? Our apartment specifically is a no smoking apartment but the land lady below is obviously smoking and all the smoke is filling up in the stairwell, our bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. I feel odd about it because it’s land lady… or someone in that apartment as 3 people live in there. Any advice? Do I even have a case? Something needs to be done though because I am sick of smelling there nasty habit.

    • That is odd. Where did it say the unit was no smoking? The best place to start is with a letter stating that when you first moved, you believed that you were moving into a no smoking apartment. There is smoke continually pouring into you unit. You want this fixed. I am not so sure this will be an easy problem to resolve. Do you want to move out? That may be possible.

  • Julie says:

    For apartment buildings the requirement must be 50 feet from windows. The lower floor apartments get all the smoke from all the people that go just outside the door to smoke. It is a huge dosage of smoke into a few apartments. The law says that owners are to protect people from second hand smoke and if to do that they need to keep smokers 50 feet away, that is what they need to do.

    • Bonnie says:

      What are the rights of residents in small apartment buildings where 1 resident smokes and the smoke gets into another resident’s apartment? When i moved in, I did not know anyone in the building smoked. And didn’t smell any smoke. Now that I am in, I smell it.
      What are my rights?
      Thank you.

      • In Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois there are few protections for renters in buildings with smokers. In Chicago, it is against the law to smoke in the hallway or any other public area. There are no laws governing smoking in apartments and the fact that it can impact others. In Portland, landlords are required to inform tenants whether the building is smoking or nonsmoking. Landlords have the right to only rent to nonsmokers though few assert that right. It is very difficult to prevent smoke from moving throughout the apartment. Have you tried talking to other tenants to see if they are bothered by the smoke. Maybe if enough tenants are bothered by it then you could get the owner to make the building a nonsmoking building. Though this may be difficult if the smoking tenants have leases.

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