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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 PM8 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

8 Comments »

  • Geovanny Archundia says:

    I moved into an apartment where the property management didn’t mention that it was a smoke friendly apartment. I also didn’t notice any smoke smell when I first checked out the apartment to rent or when I first moved in but then when the winter came I could smell cigarette smoke in my whole unit and my partner has asthma so it makes her breathing difficult and we are worried will catch second hand smoke from it or my partner will have breathing difficulties or asthma attacks. If me and my partner are under lease. Can we cut the lease short? It’s becoming a problem to live in these conditions and if we were told this from the beginning that the building is a smoke friendly zone or if that was mention on the lease, then we wouldn’t have moved in here in the first place. What can we do? Our lease is over in 5 months but since our health is at risk the longer we stay here, we want to move out the sooner the better. We’re afraid if we offer to cut the lease short that the owners of the company that rented us the unit will tell us to leave immediately without giving us time to find a new place to live.

    • This is not going to be an easy problem to resolve. There are no rules regarding smoke free building. Tenant are not allowed to smoke in common areas. Unless the landlord states upfront that the unit is smoke free then there is not much that the landlord can do. The landlord cannot enforce a policy that does not exist and is not a part of the lease. Going forward it is up to the tenant to ask about whether the building is smoke free. If it is not then you should assume someone in the building will smoke.

      As for getting out of the lease, you might have more success if you can go to a doctor and get the doctor to write a letter stating that your health is being immediately endangered due to the smoke in the building. Have you asked the landlord about shortening the lease? Maybe the landlord will let you out of the lease at little or no cost.

      Did the landlord attach a summary of the landlord and tenants ordinance to your lease? If not then you can terminate the lease and move out. Otherwise it is best to negotiate something.

      John

  • 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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