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IDPH wants to ban beer garden smoking

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* I don’t know how I missed this, but the Illinois Department of Public Health has filed proposed rules which will pretty much spell the death knell of smoking areas in beer gardens

Smoking is prohibited in a restaurant, bar and any area where food, beverages, or both, are prepared or served by employees, including outdoor areas such as patios, beer gardens, decks, or rooftops or concession areas.

The only exemption will be for “self service areas”

“Self-Service Outdoor Area” means an area or location where no employees are present and customers may serve themselves food or beverages or both and clean up the area after consuming their food and beverages. This area is not a place of employment because employees do not prepare or serve food or beverages in this area, and are not required to enter, leave, or pass through this area during the course of employment.

The public comment period expires September 29th. Click here to submit a comment to IDPH.

posted by Rich Miller
Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:14 pm


  1. Since there us a requirement that smoking be done at least 15 feet from the door of bars, this stands to reason. A lot of beer gardens are not very big.

    Comment by Tom Joad Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:19 pm

  2. Pretty soon you won’t be able to drink anywhere without getting some non-smokers’ clean air in your clothes.

    – MrJM

    Comment by MrJM Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:24 pm

  3. Oh come on!
    No one is being injured by second hand smoking in beer gardens! This is ridiculous. We’ve got thousand of businesses who have spent millions building outdoor gardens to accommodate their patrons. Now, the State wants to drop kick them again? A lot of these establishments don’t even have these investments paid off.

    This is sheer over kill.

    I’ve never had a problem with any smoker accommodating me if their second hand smoke blows my way. People are basically cautious about not being thoughtless about this.

    Butt out! No one needs this.

    Comment by VanillaMan Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:26 pm

  4. The cynical side of me makes me wonder which electronic cigarette firm paid off somebody in the Department of Public Health to file these proposed rules to further encourage the purchase of e-cigarettes. Not that anybody in Illinois state government “would ever” enact legislation or initiate policy changes to profit off of the public due to their governmental position. Oh, no. Perish the thought.

    Comment by Coffee Cup Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:32 pm

  5. It’s about time. I’m so tired of being subjected to other people’s cancer causing toxic waste. And being forced to pay for it in the form of higher health insurance premiums just adds insult to injury. Why should 80% of people be subjected to the nasty habits of the 20%?


    Comment by Not an ashtray Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:35 pm

  6. Nanny state. You give those do gooder lobbyists an inch and they take a mile. There are many small business owners who built these beer gardens just to survive. You don’t like it, drink at home in with your Nanny.

    Comment by Tom Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:39 pm

  7. Too much. Indoors is understandable. But unless you’re pulling all the cars off the streets this is not a second-hand-smoke public health measure.

    Comment by wordslinger Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:39 pm

  8. Of course, there’s nothing to stop beer garden owners from banning smoking on their own. Some do, and it’s their competitive niche.

    Comment by wordslinger Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:41 pm

  9. I don’t care one way or the other. I just don’t go outside to the beer gardens if I go to one of those places.

    But it would be nice to ban smoking entirely in public places. That would be fine by me.

    Comment by Demoralized Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:43 pm

  10. “You don’t like it, drink at home in with your Nanny.”

    And if you don’t like it, drink at home with your Nurse.

    – MrJM

    Comment by MrJM Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:45 pm

  11. Many of these beer garden are enclosed. IDPH is closing a loophole. Also they are protecting employees. Good for them.

    Comment by ChiefM Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:48 pm

  12. This is a rare situation where government is doing the right thing. If you want to smoke in your private “beer garden” at home, nobody is stopping you. The fact we have a “beer garden” is a more interesting question about society.

    Comment by Brass Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:50 pm

  13. If you don’t like the smoking ban, perhaps you should stay home and smoke with your fellow smokers! Why make the 80% miserable?

    Comment by No thanks Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:50 pm

  14. I believe that should read “IDPH wants to ban smoking”.

    Comment by anon Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:52 pm

  15. ===Why make the 80% miserable?===

    You’re miserable in Boone’s beer garden? I find that hard to believe, unless you are a naturally miserable person.

    Comment by Rich Miller Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:54 pm

  16. Not helpful at all to pat quinn. He needs this demographic–both the patrons and owners. This could have waited a few weeks, after the election, and cold weather reducing usage.

    It is a self inflicted wound. Lack of knowing whats going on. Lets talk about it tonight, in the beer garden, watching the bears. Dumb.

    Comment by Langhorne Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:57 pm

  17. This is typical of Governor Quinn and other administrations. It get progressively worse every year where they try to rewrite statute.

    1. Banning smoking in beer gardens.
    2. Overkill in the fracking rules.
    3. Tried to kill coal & petcoke that Quinn’s own Pollution Board rejected unanimously and a recent USEPA study found NO coal or petcoke in furnace filters in the area.

    Comment by 4 percent Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:58 pm

  18. Do they include e-cigs?

    Comment by Langhorne Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 4:58 pm

  19. I am categorically opposed to extending the Clean Indoor Air Act to a ban on outdoor smoking.

    Comment by SAP Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 5:00 pm

  20. I don’t smoke, but this goes way too far.

    No inside, no outside, where is the yes?

    Let the market decided the beer garden.

    The non-smoking on campuses, sure, try to enforce it .

    You mess with a social setting, outside, with alcohol being served, the expectation is smoking will occur outside. “Business” should dictate which practice is followed.

    Comment by Oswego Willy Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 5:04 pm

  21. – The fact we have a “beer garden” is a more interesting question about society.–

    Only if the question is; “Do you like to go out for a beer with friends and enjoy a beautiful day outside?”

    Like today?

    In 1855, Know-Nothing, anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant Chicago Mayor Levi Boone closed taverns and beer gardens on Sunday, the only day most German and Irish immigrants had off.

    That led to the Lager Beer Riot, as the workers marched on old City Hall and Boone brought out cannon and raised the Clark Street Bridge.

    So, as you can see, opinions have been mixed on beer gardens for a while, lol. But I dig them.

    Comment by wordslinger Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 5:04 pm

  22. A ridiculous overreach. A blatant attempt to end run the Legislature via the rules process. The original statute very clear on smoking areas outside. Many businesses made substantial investments based on the legislation passed. This MUST go before the General Assembly.

    Comment by Searchingfortruth Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 5:10 pm

  23. if they are enclosed then they are not exempted from the CIAA today. if there are no employees pouring beer, then there is no wayto control over consumption (i.e. dram shop liability and underage drinking). and how does one control the “drift”? that was the purpose ofthe 15 foot barrier. Control the wind? build a vestibule? JCAR needs to (once again) reject this agency’s grand plan.

    Comment by goose/gander Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 5:11 pm

  24. They should ban smoking in Missouri because I think I smelled cigarette smoke coming from there once.

    Some beer gardens waft the smoke through the doors every time one is opened. That’s a problem, but by far most are well ventilated and ’spaced away from the entry’ so as to not interfere with the non-smoking patrons.

    Now, if Pot were legal….there would have to be a whole new waft strategy.

    Comment by Sunshine Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 5:21 pm

  25. This goes too far. I could see if they mandated maybe half the beer garden be a non smoking area. That would not work indoors (as was proposed) but unless you are right next to someone it’s a moot point outside. Another factor is some of bars that have their video gaming machines outside. Some of those have been walking a thin line between being outside or inside.

    Comment by Been There Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 5:23 pm

  26. This goes too far. The days of letting a saloon keeper create his/her own environment and prosper or fail with it are long over. Smoking gardens are going to pop up soon enough. Jeez, even the lepers were left alone to their own devices on their islands.
    This is heading too fast in the direction it’s going. It’s invasive at this point. I need Bost on this one.

    Comment by A guy... Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 5:30 pm

  27. If you don’t like smoking in the beer garden, go to another that doesn’t have smoking.

    Comment by FormerParatrooper Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 5:39 pm

  28. Lots of beer gardens in Chicago and points north are semi or completely enclosed. And I don’t know of any that lets you pour your own beverages.

    Comment by Cheryl44 Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 5:46 pm

  29. Secondhand smoke has proven, negative health effects on bystanders both inside and outside. The research is clear and undisputed. Your right to smoke is protected, but it doesn’t trump the public’s right to breathe clean air. I support IDPH and I support this measure.

    Comment by I like my lungs like I like my water. Clean. Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 5:56 pm

  30. Good catch by Capt Fax
    Hopefully it will lite a movement that tells IDPH to go to catching west nile mosquitos
    Maybe Mitt can take a side too. And ‘Lexi too!

    Comment by circularfiringsquad Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 5:57 pm

  31. It’s about time! Most bars do it correctly but there are those that have exploited the law by making formerly outdoor areas enclosed or nearly enclosed. If you can smell the smoke it is hurting you - indoors or out. Thank you IDPH for taking care of this long time problem!

    Comment by Way South of I-80 Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 6:04 pm

  32. Reminds me of the fire marshal, by rule, wanting to require sprinklers.

    How long before PQ appts a study commission to slo walk this past the election? 3, 2, 1….

    Comment by Langhorne Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 6:04 pm

  33. Years from now a generation will ask what a “beer garden” is for.

    Comment by Brass Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 6:12 pm

  34. Good. 100 years from now, kids will think it was absurd that we ever allowed smoking in public spaces.

    Comment by Snucka Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 6:23 pm

  35. it’s a beer garden, not a vegetable garden! I’m getting tired of all these rules and I am not a smoker and have no smokers in my family. it’s going over the top.

    Comment by Amalia Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 6:35 pm

  36. “Good. 100 years from now, kids will think it was absurd that we ever allowed smoking in public spaces.” I imagine 100 years from now kids will not be allowed to think. It might lead to offending someone someplace and therefore be deemed illegal. I’m sure it will be for our own good.

    Comment by Anthony Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 6:46 pm

  37. I don’t think it will take 100 years. Kids in their early 20’s already don’t remember what it was like to have smoking in restaurants and everywhere else.

    Comment by Tough Guy Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 6:56 pm

  38. Somebody help me here but were beer gardens not created for smokers to be able to enjoy their habit without upsetting non smokers? Let them go to the bar and get their drink and sit outside and puff.

    Comment by Nieva Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 7:02 pm

  39. Seems like a good idea. If bars & restaurants are already smoke free, their beer gardens should be too. I appreciate the ones already doing it - and look forward to a time when they will all be smoke-free. The employees who would be exposed whether they choose to smoke or not should be granted the same safety outdoors that they get indoors. (and I’ll take the perk of enjoying a beautiful day on a patio without any second hand smoke coming my way).

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 7:13 pm

  40. I’m sorry, IDPH, you have overstepped the bounds of your authority and your purpose with this proposal. Smokers are citizens and smoking cigarettes is legal. However few remain, smokers do have rights, too.

    Comment by Responsa Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 7:37 pm

  41. Anthony: It is not 100 years from now. It is today.

    Comment by Kama Sutra Records Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 8:11 pm

  42. The beer gardens I go to have fire pits, pet dogs, and lots of happy people. Anyone whining about tobacco smoke needs to sit next a fire pit, or a tiki lamp, or a scented cable, and get bit by one of those pooches.

    Puritanical complainers!

    Comment by VanillaMan Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 8:30 pm

  43. Yes, because I can only kill myself one vice at a time thank you. Good thing the research on Cell Phones causing brain cancer is “inconclusive”.

    Comment by Come on man! Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 8:45 pm

  44. Ok, so these new regs will be delivered from ‘On High’ from the geniuses at IDPH - probably Food, Drugs, & Dairy? Who currently aren’t capable of even doing what they legally have to accomplish.

    Oh, that’s right. This little jewel is going to get dropped onto the local health departments, who are already overworked, and now they are going to have to determine (enforcement wise, and legally) what exactly constitutes a “beer garden”.

    There are already Counties out there where their State’s Attorney has told their Health Department environmental health staff to not even think about bringing these smoking cases to them. Bluntly, it’s not that important. Complete waste of scarce resources.

    Why is IDPH into making up stupid regs? Does anybody really think that the environmental health inspectors are going to tag any food establishment with a beer garden with a critical violation over some customer who decides to light up in their outdoor beer garden?

    Somebody at IDPH has way, way too much free time on their hands. Time for some very much needed unpaid furloughs at the State level.

    Comment by Judgment Day Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 8:48 pm

  45. Another over reach. Plain stupid.

    Comment by john a logan Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 9:01 pm

  46. “I imagine 100 years from now kids will not be allowed to think. It might lead to offending someone someplace and therefore be deemed illegal. I’m sure it will be for our own good.”

    Thinking doesn’t cause lung cancer. Smoking tobacco is a horrible public health scourge that should be discouraged at “Good. 100 years from now, kids will think it was absurd that we ever allowed smoking in public spaces.” I imagine 100 years from now kids will not be allowed to think. It might lead to offending someone someplace and therefore be deemed illegal. I’m sure it will be for our own good.”

    Smoking is a horrible public health scourge that should be discouraged at every opportunity.

    Comment by Snucka Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 10:03 pm

  47. ===that should be discouraged at every opportunity. ====

    Congrats on your bumper sticker slogan. Now please explain how the statute allows this rule.

    Comment by Rich Miller Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 10:31 pm

  48. The City of DeKalb passed an ordinance last month that bans smoking and ecigs on restaurant & bar patios where food or drink are served. It took effect in early September.

    Comment by M Python Monday, Sep 22, 14 @ 11:20 pm

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