County identifies bar fined over smoking

WOOD RIVER – Health officials Wednesday identified the first bar in Madison County to pay a $250 fine for violating the Illinois Smoke Free Act.

The Madison County Health Department released the name of the establishment on Wednesday, a week after The Telegraph filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the information.

Mary Cooper, environmental health services manager, identified Digger’s Dugout, 7708 State Route 4, in Worden, as the violator.

The bar was cited in August for violating the state ban. The law, which went into effect in January 2008, prohibits smoking at indoor public places such as bars and restaurants.

Businesses that are issued a citation either can pay the fine without objection or contest it, Cooper said.

If there is an objection, then an administrative hearing is scheduled with the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Digger’s Dugout did not return a call left for its manager by The Telegraph.

Cooper said the Health Department has started issuing citations to establishments where people are caught smoking discount cigarettes inside.

“A sanitarian (inspector) has to actually see someone smoking before a citation can be issued,” Cooper said.

Cooper said until recently, only warning letters were sent to businesses about which the IDPH received complaints.

“We now have the authority to issues fines, where when the law first was passed, we didn’t,” Cooper said.

Police officers also have the authority to issue citations under the law.

source: http://www.thetelegraph.com

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