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Smoking debate may reignite

Publication Date: 8/30/2006
  • Author:Michael Sluss
  • Publication:Roanoke (VA) Times & World News

The governor said he could support a measure that bans smoking in certain public places but not everywhere.

Gov. Tim Kaine said Tuesday that he is willing to consider a state ban on smoking in restaurants, but not a broader prohibition that would apply to most indoor workplaces.

The governor's comments likely won't help ongoing efforts to pass legislation that would ban smoking in most places open to the public. The state Senate passed such a bill earlier this year before a House of Delegates subcommittee killed it. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Brandon Bell, R-Roanoke County, plans to introduce a similar measure in the 2007 General Assembly session.

During a radio call-in show Tuesday, Kaine said a blanket ban on smoking in public places, including small businesses, "is too much of a reach for government."

"I accept that smoking is dangerous, but I just feel like there's a question of how far the government should reach in telling the owners of private property, 'Hey, you can't allow smoking on your premises,' " Kaine said on Washington Post Radio.