Big businesses in Bloomington-Normal say little will change for them when the state smoking ban takes effect Jan. 1.
Big businesses in Bloomington-Normal say little will change for them when the state smoking ban takes effect Jan. 1. Representatives from Mitsubishi Motors North America, State Farm and Illinois State University said most of what needs to be done to comply with the state smoking ban will either be a non issue or has already been covered by the smoking bans in Bloomington and Normal. The city bans went into effect Jan. 1, 2007. Employees at Mitsubishi’s plant in Normal were allowed to smoke indoors in designated break areas prior to Normal’s ban, spokesman Dan Irvin said. Since then employees have had to step outside and over to the smoking cigarette receptacles placed 15 feet away from the building to comply with the law. Irvin said, with the ban in place this year, Mitsubishi is doing what it can to help employees improve their health by providing seminars to help them give up the habit. "This is a wellness issue for us. Hand in hand with the changes to the smoking areas, we now have a number of smoking workshops," Irvin said. "What we are ultimately trying to do is, having people, for their own health, try to give it up." Mitsubishi encouraged employees to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout Nov. 15 and stop smoking cold turkey. Irvin said he does not anticipate any changes being made in current smoking policies once the state ban takes effect. State Farm spokesman Fraser Engerman said the company’s buildings were smoke free long before city and state bans were even discussed. "We have banned smoking in all of our facilities in Bloomington for well over a decade," Engerman said. As long as the company’s policy has been in place, Engerman said, State Farm has provided designated smoking facilities for employees outside the buildings. He said the company also offers compensation to employees who go through programs to help them quit. Engerman said with the introduction of the state ban, State Farm will be updating no smoking signs around the building but will not need any other changes. ISU will have to do even less come Jan. 1, university spokesman Jay Groves said. The campus has had a long history of being smoke free, and cigarette receptacles were moved away from the buildings 15 feet to comply with the city ban at the beginning of this year. Fitzgerald M. Doubet can be reached at 686-3041 or firstname.lastname@example.org.