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News Summary

Smoking bans meet different fates

Publication Date: 1/26/2007
  • Author:John Reid Blackwell
  • Publication:Times-Dispatch

A state Senate committee advanced legislation yesterday that would prohibit smoking in restaurants and most public, indoor places, but identical legislation was defeated in a House of Delegates subcommittee.

The subcommittee did vote 4-0 in favor of a bill sponsored by Del. H. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, that would require restaurants that allow smoking to post signs stating "smoking permitted" at each public entrance. His bill goes to the full General Laws committee.

Griffith described the legislation as a realistic approach to encourage more restaurants to prohibit smoking voluntarily. If the bill were to become law, he said, "I believe that within 24 months, a majority of restaurants will have chosen to go smoke-free."

The Senate Education and Health Committee voted 9-5 in favor of a bill sponsored by Sen. Brandon Bell, R-Roanoke County, that would make smoking illegal in indoor areas frequented by the public. The full Senate is likely to vote on the bill next week.