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News Summary

Variety of Anti-Smoking Bills Coming from Arlington Delegation

Publication Date: 1/5/2009
  • Author:SCOTT McCAFFREY
  • Publication:Sun Gazette

The Kaine administration again this year is backing legislation to ban smoking in restaurants across the commonwealth. State Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, D-31st, is going further, reintroducing legislation to ban smoking in all public places.

Del. Bob Brink, D-48th, is again patroning legislation to give Northern Virginia localities the ability to enact their own smoking bans for restaurants. Currently, such local bans are prohibited under state law, leaving it up to a restaurant’s owner to determine whether to outlaw smoking on the premises.

Brink's rationale is that Virginia could lose a competitive edge to Maryland and the District of Columbia, which ban smoking in most eateries.

"Northern Virginia risks becoming the region's ashtray," said Brink, although those against a smoking ban say Virginia businesses benefit by permitting smoking, enticing patrons who want to smoke from across the Potomac River.

Del. Albert Eisenberg, D-47th, is coming at the issue from the reverse direction. Rather than bann smoking, Eisenberg will sponsor legislation banning children from restaurants where smoking is allowed.