Policy prohibits smoking in city buildings

By Donald Roth

The DeKalb City Council passed a resolution Monday night which will provide a smoke-free environment for city employees and visitors to city buildings.

Because of the Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act (ICIAA), which prohibits smoking in certain environments, the city moved quickly to implement a policy which would provide a healthy workplace.

The policy, which is two-pronged, will protect non-smokers as well as smokers.

Smoking, which is a major cause of death in this country, is also a preventative disease, said Dean Kruithof, assistant city manager.

The city wishes to comply with the ICIAA and provide people who currently smoke with effective cessation techniques, he said.

The ICIAA mandates that non-smokers take precedent over those who smoke when in public buildings.

DeKalb’s new policy calls for the prohibition of smoking in all common areas, including elevators, stairwells, shared office space and private offices during regular office hours and when non-smokers are present, Kruithof said.

“The ban also includes any city-owned vehicle when a non-smoker is present and any area not specifically designated by a ‘no smoking’ sign,” he said.

The new policy is strict and is not to be waived at any time, he said. Smokers may not request permission to smoke and non-smokers may not waive the policy at their discretion.

Kruithof also said the DeKalb Housing Commission and the DeKalb Library Board are free to adopt DeKalb’s policy or initiate their own as long as it complies with the ICIAA.

Because smoking is considered a strong addiction, DeKalb’s policy will provide a two month grace period for smokers to seek assistance in cessation, he said.

Kishwaukee Community Hospital will offer two smoking cessation programs to city employees for costs of $35 and $90. Upon completion of the programs, city employees will be reimbursed for up to $90, Kruithof said.

Employees who want to seek alternative programs to Kishwaukee Hospital’s can do so but only will be reimbursed up to $90, he said.

The grace period is from May 1 to June 30, he said. During this period there will be designated areas in which smoking will be permitted.

Visitors to city buildings must adhere to the policy as of May 1, Kruithof said.

After the full ban on smoking goes into place on July 1, there will be very few areas where smokers can smoke.

Kruithof said smoking areas will include city facilities that are not enclosed, parking lots and lawn areas.