"The anti-smoking movement has become more sophisticated in its efforts to enact bans and restrictions on smoking.... They have adopted a 'Pac-man' strategy where they attempt to gobble up one community at a time.... The 'Pac-man' strategy makes sense for the antis because it is easier for a group of extremists to have an impact on the local level than in larger jurisdictions.... The solution to 'Pac-man' is statewide pre-emption."Tina Walls
On December 1, 2009, a weak law went into effect that restricts smoking in restaurants. The law allows smoking in restaurants in ventilated smoking rooms, and still exempts most other workplaces and public places. Virginia law still preempts all local ability to address smokefree air issues.
To learn more about the law, visit the Virginia Department of Health.
Virginia law states, "Ordinances adopted after January 1, 1990, shall not contain provisions or standards which exceed those established in this chapter." Read more about current tobacco-related legislation in Virginia.
For more information on smokefree efforts in Virginia, visit Smoke Free Virginia Now.
Current tobacco-related statistics are available from the Centers for Disease Control's Tobacco Control State Highlights, 2010.
Virginia's 2018 Legislative Session: January 10 - March 11
- 1/24/2019HB1744—(vehicles with minors)—A bill relating to smoking in motor vehicle with a minor present—Left in Courts of Justice Committee
- 1/24/2019HB2019—(vehicles with minors)—A bill relating to smoking in motor vehicle with a minor present—Left in Courts of Justice Committee
- 2/1/2019SB1304—(partial preemption repeal)—A bill relating to regulation of smoking in outdoor amphitheater or concert venue—Sent to Governor on 3/4
- 7/31/2019States Are Thwarting Cities' Attempts to Govern Themselves
- 4/29/2019In Washington, Juul Vows to Curb Youth Vaping. Its Lobbying in States Runs Counter to That Pledge.
- 10/13/2017State lawmakers choose winners and losers through preemption
- 7/6/2017Blue Cities Want to Make Their Own Rules. Red States Won't Let Them.
- 5/10/2017The Threat of Super-Preemption
- 3/6/2017Preemption Prevents Innovation
- 2/21/2017City Rights in an Era of Preemption: A State-by-State Analysis
- 2/2/2017Red State, Blue City
- 1/5/2017GOP aims to rein in liberal cities
- 1/3/2017Bill would give localities ability to snuff out smoking in their parks
- 9/9/2016How ALEC, ACCE, and Preemption Laws are Gutting the Powers of American Cities
- 8/22/2016Blue Cities, Red States
- 6/28/2016Colorado Preemptions of Local Government: The Need for the Colorado Community Rights Amendment
- 6/23/2016State and Local Comprehensive Smoke-Free Laws for Worksites, Restaurants, and Bars--United States, 2015
- 4/6/2016From Fracking Bans To Paid Sick Leave: How States Are Overruling Local Laws
- 4/1/2016Growing Southern cities are increasingly targets of state pre-emption
- 3/25/2016Beyond North Carolina's LGBT Battle: States' War on Cities
- 2/4/2016Corporate Interests Take Aim at Local Democracy
- 1/25/2016Legislation would prohibit use of e-cigarettes in restaurants
- 8/6/2015Blowing the Whistle on ALEC's Little Brother ACCE
- 7/7/2015Four Ways ALEC Tried to Ruin Your State this Year
- 5/17/2015Say no: States increasingly blocking cities and counties from imposing mandates on businesses
- 5/8/2015State lawmakers hate federal meddling even as they preempt local government
- 3/30/2015The ALEC-Backed War on Local Democracy
- 2/23/2015Govern Yourselves, State Lawmakers Tell Cities, but Not Too Much
- 2/20/2013Bill to allow beach smoking bans is snuffed out
- 2/13/2013Senate Approves Bill Allowing Beach Smoking Bans
- 2/10/2012Bill on Smoking in Parks Meets Defeat in House Committee
- 2/10/2012Legislation Could Provide Localities Ability to Ban Smoking on School Grounds
- 2/8/2012Capitol briefs: Senate panel OKs anti-smoking bills
- 1/10/2012Tejada: Bill to Allow Localities to Ban Smoking in Parks Faces Short-Term Uphill Battle
- 3/1/2011Delegate tries to ban lighting up in legislators' offices
- 11/28/2010Most restaurants, bars embrace state's smoke-free law
- 2/5/2010State Preemption of Local Smoke-Free Laws in Government Work Sites, Private Work Sites, and Restaurants United States, 2005-2009
- 1/31/2010New smoking laws don't have much bite
- 12/1/2009Clean air on the menu
- 3/9/2009Kaine to sign restaurant-bar smoking ban legislation today
- 2/20/2009Restaurant smoking ban goes to the governor
- 2/17/2009Virginia Senate rejects House changes to smoking-ban bill
- 2/10/2009Va. House Approves Ban on Smoking
- 2/6/2009Deal puts smoking ban in restaurants on path to passage
- 2/3/2009Bills to Restrict Smoking Pass Va. Senate
- 1/29/2009Bills banning smoking move forward in Va. Senate
- 1/22/2009Smoking ban has local support
- 1/20/2009Sen. measure allowing local smoking limits stalls
- 1/5/2009Variety of Anti-Smoking Bills Coming from Arlington Delegation
- 12/15/2008Public smoking ban on way?
- 11/17/2008Supervisors voice support for smoking legislation
- 10/28/2008Restaurants wrestle with how to handle smoking inside
- 10/8/2008More show than fix to 10 p.m. smoking ban
- 2/25/2008Opinion: Ban on Public Smoking Rears its Head…Again
- 2/20/2008Ad aims to revive bill on smoking ban
- 2/1/2008Smoking-ban bills pass in committee
- 1/28/2008Smoking ban bill to go before Senate
- 1/25/2008Local option smoking bans
- 1/14/2008Suffolk to vote on smoking ban resolution
- 1/8/2008Kaine to Try Again to Pass Smoking Ban
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