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News Summary

Eight bills that ban public smoking die in House

Publication Date: 2/8/2008
  • Author:Mason Adams
  • Publication:Roanoke (VA) Times & World News

The same subcommittee will consider four smoking ban bills the Senate passed Tuesday.

A House subcommittee killed a series of bills Thursday to enact a smoking ban in restaurants and other buildings, likely foreshadowing the fate of similar Senate legislation.

After more than an hour of testimony from the bills' supporters and opponents, the House General Laws subcommittee on ABC and Gaming unanimously voted down eight measures that would have restricted smoking in public areas.

"It's clearly, if someone wants to go nonsmoking in a restaurant, they can do it," said subcommittee chairman Del. Tom Gear, R-Hampton, prior to the votes. "I don't think it's up to the government to intervene and tell the restaurant they have to do something. They can do it on their own."

Del. Terrie Suit, R-Virginia Beach, who leads the full House General Laws Committee, said she had once been in favor of a smoking ban. But in recent years, she said she's found that more and more restaurants are doing it themselves.