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Va. Gov Defends Proposed Smoking Ban

Publication Date: 2007-03-29
  • Author:Larry O'Dell
  • Publication:AP

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said Thursday that he proposed a statewide ban on smoking in restaurants primarily to protect workers -- not customers.

Diners can simply go to a nonsmoking restaurant or eat at home, Kaine said.

"For a lot of employees, it's not necessarily easy for them to pick up and get another job," the governor said on his monthly radio program on the Virginia News Network.

Kaine proposed the ban as an amendment to General Assembly-passed legislation requiring restaurants that allow smoking to post a sign at the entrance saying so. That bill also would eliminate the requirement that smoking restaurants offer a separate section for smokers -- a provision Kaine called "a huge step backward" in protecting public health.

Legislators will vote on Kaine's amendment when they reconvene Wednesday for the one-day veto override session.

Kaine said his decision was based in part on a conversation with a Richmond restaurant owner who told him he wanted to go smoke-free for his employees' benefit but feared he would lose business to his competitors.

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