Illinois bans smoking

SPRINGFIELD Ill. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has signed into law a smoking ban that takes effect Jan. 1, making Illinois the 19th state to prohibit smoking in all public places.

The ban applies to bars as well as restaurants and moves up a municipal deadline in Chicago that gave bars and restaurants with bar areas until July 1, 2008, to ban cigarettes, cigars and pipes. Outdoor smokers must stay at least 15 feet away from building entrances.

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