Illinois colleges and universities could lose autonomy on smoking policies

By Denise Jackson

March 22, 2013 Updated Mar 22, 2013 at 9:38 PM CDT

NORMAL, Ill. -- Illinois colleges and universities could lose their ability to make policy regarding smoking laws.

This week a state senate committee approved a plan to ban smoking on all college campuses including inside vehicles in parking lots.

Since Illinois enacted smoke free laws at all public facilities five years ago many colleges like Illinois State University followed suit, but left limited places outside buildings where students could smoke cigarettes.

ISU students and staff we spoke with had mixed reaction to the proposal.

"I think it would probably be healthier for all campuses and I feel maybe most of the students would feel the same way as me. They just don't want the smoke in their faces as they're walking," said ISU Sophomore Saah Scharlau.

"Well I think that it's a public university here even though they are getting state dollars the public is using that and other than just students are here. It's everyone's free choice to do what they want," said ISU Faculty member Connie Borowski.

If approved in both chambers the smoking ban would take effect in July.