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News Summary

Statewide smoking ban bill introduced

Publication Date: 1/27/2010
  • Author:Phil Kabler
  • Publication:Charleston Gazette

Sen. Dan Foster, D-Kanawha, introduced legislation Thursday to ban smoking in public places statewide (SB360) but conceded the bill is primarily intended to spur discussion.

"It's as much for the discussion of the issue, and to make sure people recognize the success of what has been done at the local level," said Foster, a surgeon and medical administrator.

Foster's bill would prohibit smoking statewide in all public places, including restaurants, bars, clubs and gaming facilities, as well as in all college dormitories...

Under the proposed legislation, health departments could impose tougher countywide restrictions on smoking, in addition to the statewide standards, Foster said.

However, Chuck Hamsher, who represents several anti-tobacco organizations including the Coalition for at Tobacco-Free West Virginia, said the anti-smoking groups prefer keeping the policy at the local level.

"Our preference is to keep it local," he said. "It makes sense to leave it in the hands of the county Boards of Health, who are mandated to protect public health."