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News Summary

More show than fix to 10 p.m. smoking ban

Publication Date: 2008-10-08
  • Author:Editorial
  • Publication:The Virginian-Pilot

Imagine you check into a hotel and request a no-smoking room, but end up in a suite where the drapes, bedspread and carpet all stink of tobacco. You call the front desk to complain and the manager asks, "Are you smoking now?" When you assure him you are not, he replies, "Well, then, it's a no-smoking room!"

Chances are you won't be staying at that hotel again.

Toxic particles from cigarette smoke have a nasty habit of sticking around long after the last butt has been snuffed out. That's why hotels have designated smoking rooms and why some major chains like Westin and Marriott have started banning cigarettes entirely.

Those lessons weigh heavily against a proposal being considered by high-ranking state officials that would ban smoking in bars and restaurants, but only until 10 p.m.

Health Secretary Marilyn Tavenner's plan aims to break a logjam blocking a smoking ban in public places.

Tavenner's resolve is more admirable than her proposal, a half-measure that fails to achieve the benefits of a true smoking ban.

Giving bars a little statutory breathing room has the opposite effect on their workers. Patrons can choose which bars and restaurants they go to and when, but hospitality employees take what jobs are available and work the hours their bosses dictate. A smoking ban with time limits won't protect them from the ill effects of secondhand smoke.

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