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News Summary

Kaine to Try Again to Pass Smoking Ban

Publication Date: 2008-01-08
  • Author:Tim Craig and Sandhya Somashekhar
  • Publication:The Washington Post

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said yesterday that he will renew his push for a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, a proposal that faces a stiff challenge in a state with a powerful tobacco lobby.

Speaking at a restaurant in Virginia Beach, Kaine (D) said he will introduce legislation during the session, which begins tomorrow, that would prohibit smoking in indoor establishments that serve food -- including private clubs.

"We all know the scientific evidence of the health risks of secondhand smoke is very clear," said Kaine, who added that the Virginia Department of Health estimates that secondhand smoke is responsible for 1,700 deaths in the state each year.

"This is about the health of restaurant patrons, but some of them can have a choice to go to another restaurant. But hundreds of thousands of Virginians' livelihoods depend on working in a bar and restaurant, and they don't have a choice," the governor said.

Other lawmakers are expected to introduce proposals for even tougher bans when the General Assembly convenes for a 60-day session.