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Local option smoking bans

Publication Date: 2008-01-25
  • Publication:Richmond (VA) Times Dispatch

Local option smoking bans: Some local governments in Virginia, especially in Northern Virginia and Tidewater, want to enact local restaurant smoking bans, and lawmakers have responded by introducing bills that would give some or all localities that option. Localities cannot currently adopt restrictions stronger than state law.

House bills sponsored by Del. David L. Englin, D-Alexandria, and by Del. William K. Barlow, D-Isle of Wight, would allow localities to adopt restaurant-smoking restrictions. A bill by Del. Robert H. Brink, D-Arlington, would allow localities in Northern Virginia to adopt restaurant-smoking restrictions, while Del. Algie T. Howell Jr., D-Norfolk, would allow cities with populations greater than 200,000 to enact restaurant smoking restrictions.

Senate bills: One sponsored by Harry B. Blevins, R-Chesapeake, would prohibit smoking in restaurants in the city of Chesapeake, while Sen. Frederick M. Quayle, R-Chesapeake, introduced a bill to allow localities to adopt restaurant ordinances stronger than state law.

Pro: Local governments know best what their own residents and businesses want. "We really have seen that local laws are most effective," said Cynthia Hallet, executive director of Americans for Nonsmokers Rights.