Thursday, February 5, 2009

Potential Statewide Smoking Ban in Restaurants

According to today's Richmond Times-Dispatch, Governor Kaine and a bipartisan group of legislators have reached preliminary agreement on a statewide smoking ban in bars and restaurants.

Both Phillip Morris and the American Cancer Society expressed initial skepticism about the contours of the agreed-upon language, so it remains to be seen whether the bill will be tweaked as it works its way through the General Assembly.

I was at a social gathering this past weekend at which there was a significant amount of smoking, and it struck me how rare the "smoke-filled room" has become -- even in restaurants and bars -- in the past few years in Virginia.

It will be extremely interesting to see if this bill actually makes its way through both chambers and becomes law -- according to the RTD article, 23 states have laws banning smoking in restaurants/bars, but I imagine none of them have quite the same close ties with tobacco -- both historically and economically -- as does Virginia.