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Smoking ban has local support

Publication Date: 2009-01-22
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  • Publication: The Free Lance-Star, VA

Frederick Heller is a smoker. But he has operated his Fredericksburg restaurant and bar, Frederick's, as a smoke-free venue since it opened in 2002, and he believes the state should require other restaurants to do the same.

"Even a person that does smoke doesn't like the smell of second-hand smoke," Heller said yesterday at Virginians for a Healthy Future's lobby day at the General Assembly. "I find more of the clientele coming out because I am a nonsmoking establishment."...

Virginians for a Healthy Future is pushing the state to ban smoking in public buildings and restaurants. Gov. Tim Kaine had supported such a ban in years past, but bills to restrict smoking routinely fail in the House of Delegates.

The health lobbying group says its polls show 75 percent of voters want the legislature to pass a smoke-free workplace law. The group hopes those results will pressure lawmakers into supporting a ban on public smoking.

"We think we're raising the volume," said Keenan Caldwell, co-chairman of Virginians for a Healthy Future.

Caldwell pointed out that there is a new chairman of the House General Laws committee, which has received smoking-ban bills in the past. He hopes that new chairman will hold a full committee hearing, instead of the bills dying at the hands of a small subcommittee that governs alcohol laws.

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