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News Summary

City Council votes to ask for smoking ban

Publication Date: 12/11/2007
  • Author:SABINE HIRSCHAUER
  • Publication:Daily Press - Newport News,VA

If the General Assembly gives its blessing, the no-smoking signs could go up in city restaurants as early as July 1.

Newport News could become the first locality on the Peninsula-and possibly the second one statewide-to ban smoking in restaurants if lawmakers in Richmond give their OK next year.

The Newport News City Council unanimously voted after a public hearing Tuesday night to ask the General Assembly to allow the city to change its charter and stop people from lighting up in local restaurants.

"Thank you for being the first council on the Peninsula to address this issue," said Frances Butterfoss with the Consortium for Infant and Child Health. "Your voters will be happier and healthier. ... There is no justification for further delay."

If the General Assembly gives the go-ahead in its session that begins next month, the no-smoking signs could go up in Newport News as early as July 1.

The city is following Norfolk's lead, which banned smoking in restaurants earlier this fall. Unlike Newport News and Virginia Beach, Norfolk's charter allowed a smoking ban without General Assembly approval.

Nationwide, 24 states, including California, New York and Florida, ban smoking in restaurants, according to the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation.