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Lighting up hope for smoking ban

Publication Date: 2007-10-16
  • Author:Editorial
  • Publication:The Virginian-Pilot

Similar stories fuel the mounting impatience with tobacco's friends in the General Assembly. Tobacco's lawmakers are dwindling in number each year, but have been clever enough to have choked off prospects for a statewide ban. So far at least.

Recently in Hampton Roads, the case for local option took a healthy turn, thanks to some welcome cross-border conversation between leaders in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

In Virginia Beach, a local ban is stalemated not for any lack of popular support, which is abundant, but for lack of municipal authority to enact it, which is non-existent. The Beach City Council, reflecting the enthusiasm of its resort and restaurant business, unanimously petitioned lawmakers for the power to enforce one.

In Norfolk, the opposite is true. The city insists it has the authority (although that's in some dispute) from an obscure clause in the original law setting aside no-smoking sections. But City Council is hesitant to use its power because so many restaurants worry about losing smokers to Virginia Beach if Norfolk goes it alone.

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