A new law would allow the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont to hold a tobacco trade show, a rare example of the state allowing an exemption to Illinois' indoor smoking ban.
Gov. Pat Quinn signed the plan into law Friday. It would allow the exemption anytime before October 2015 and let showgoers sample the products indoors, an act that would typically be illegal in Illinois.
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Rosemont officials had been talking with a tobacco trade show about going to Rosemont, and could use the exemption for that or a different trade show before October 2015.
Since Illinois' indoor smoke-free law took effect in early 2008, exceptions have been rare. Casinos, for example, fought for years to get an exemption for smoking on their gambling floors but never succeeded.
The American Lung Association and other groups argue that workers shouldn't be forced to be subject to secondhand smoke.
"The basis of it is it's a trade show and people who come are buyers, and like any trade show generally, sampling is done," trade show organizer Susan Reuter told the Daily Herald this summer. "Tobacco is still legal and it's a product that many people want to sample before they purchase it."