Grundy County celebrated 5 years of a smoke-free Illinois Wednesday.
January 1 marked the fifth anniversary of the Smoke Free Illinois Act, which made all work places like factories, restaurants, bars and casinos smoke-free.
Cities and counties around the state are holding celebrations, said Paula Goodwin, No Tolerance Task Force coordinator. The Grundy Tobacco Coalition held its celebration at the Morris Municipal Services Facility, where about 15 people attended, including Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick, Minooka Village President Pat Brennan and Morris Police Chief Brent Dite.
Dana Agnich of Morris attended to celebrate her own victory of six months without a cigarette. She accomplished this through Goodwin and the local smoking cessation programs.
"July 8 at 8:30 in the night was the last time I had a cigarette," said Agnich. "Paula helped me through it and still gives me encouragement."
Grundy's smoke-free programs are sponsored by the Illinois Tobacco Free Community Grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health. This year, they received $24,000, said Goodwin.
The money goes toward advertising the quit line, elementary school education, youth programs, cessation classes, nicotine replacement therapy, and enforcement of the Smoke Free Illinois Act, said Kay Lynn Shoemaker, Grundy County Health Department administrator. It also helps with Goodwin's salary.
Since the law was enacted, more than 13,000 complaints of violations have been reported in the state, said Shoemaker. That number has declined annually.
The goal is to decrease the exposure to second-hand smoke and a new initiative is being pushed.
This year, Grundy received $4,000 more in the grant than the year before. With the increase, the Department of Public Health asks them to push smoke-free housing. To do this, Goodwin has made presentations at Elliot Manor and Saratoga Tower senior housing to see their interest in making their buildings smoke-free.
She is currently going through surveys from Elliot Manor on the residents' thoughts on being smoke free.
Bob Ball of Morris was another guest at the celebration. He also made great progress through the Grundy smoke-free program. Although he hasn't quit completely, he's gone from two packs a day to three or four cigarettes a day.
"I believe anyone can quit with the program they present. It's the best program I have attended."
Grundy's personal attention is what makes them different, he said.
"To quote the American Lung Society, thank you from the bottom of our lungs," said Shoemaker at the end of her welcome speech.
The Illinois Tobacco Quitline is available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. by calling 1-866-QUIT-YES. For more information on the local classes, call (815) 941-3130.
Local businesses recognized for participating in the 5-year celebration of a Smoke-Free Illinois:
Babes Tap in Coal City
Cookies Restaurant in Minooka
Clayton’s Tap in Morris
Dairy Queen in Morris
EnJoi! Bake Shop in Morris
Lindy-Gerties in Morris
Twin Rail Pub in Minooka
Peak Fitness in Minooka
Weits Café in Morris