On March 9, 2009, Virginia adopted a very weak law to restrict smoking in restaurants. The new law, which took effect on December 1, 2009, allows smoking in restaurants in ventilated smoking rooms. The new law still exempts many workplaces and all bars, and Virginia law still preempts all local ability to address smokefree air issues.
The law is enforced by the Virginia Department of Health. For more information, visit their official web page.
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.
2014 State Legislative Session: 1/8/2014 - 3/8/2014 (Est.)
State Quitline Number:
American Cancer Society Quitline: 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669)
Smokefree & Related News
City supervisor wants county to consider smoking ban
College Transitioning to Tobacco-Free / Smoke-Free Campus
Say Virginia Needs Better Cancer Prevention Policies
Virginia Medical School researcher to target teens' e-cigarette use
cloud e-cigarette craze
smoking ban on campus would be illogical
campaign divides university
rights up in smoke?
lounge opens up in downtown Roanoke
sides with caution on e-cig ban
tribe seeks pins hopes on federal recognition amid casino ...
bans vaping on campus
Considers Tobacco Retail License Requirement
weighs new tobacco-retailer regulation
schools may become smoke-free campuses
Ten to go smoke free Jan. 1
have rights, just like nonsmokers
things we put in our bodies have side effects
A smoke-free Grounds
should respect those around them
ramps up campaign to make parks tobacco-free
matter of choice
School Board to Vote on E-Cig Ban
Schools Banning E-cigarettes
VIEWS: I'm supporting Reeves
Schools Banning E-cigarettes
We look forward to many visits once the smoking ban goes into effect, and we want to express our gratitude to the Hyperion management for taking this step ...
outdoor tables going non-smoking
tips for asthma sufferers
schools? Not really
cigarettes banned in local schools
... cigarettes to people under the age of 18; minors cannot possess them either. ... Suffolk says they consider e-cigarettes to be a violation of their tobacco ...
cigarettes banned in local schools
The move comes after a new Virginia law that took effect July 1 making it illegal for vendors to sell electronic cigarettes to people under the age of 18; minors ...
to host anti-smoking meetings this month
Public health officials will discuss how firsthand, secondhand and thirdhand smoke can be harmful to smokers as well as nonsmokers who are exposed to ...
Board Decreases Suspension Time
Electronic cigarettes and hookah pens were also added to be classified as tobacco products under the updated handbook. A motion was also approved that ...
wants to open hookah bar
... go and smoke cigars and different flavors of tobacco and have social conversations." ... then applicants such as Tahan could apply for a special-use permit.
more SWVa school systems expel tobacco from campuses
Murray said this part of the state has a higher-than-average rate of smoking, and it's a tough place to try to implement blanket tobacco bans. But, she said, 23 ...
holding anti-smoking meetings
The meetings will feature public health officials, who will be discussing the effects of firsthand, secondhand and thirdhand smoke on smokers and nonsmokers.
banned from Henry County, Martinsville schools [VIDEO]
School Board approves softer discipline rules, shorter ...
School Board Approves Tobacco Ban [VIDEO]
in Fairfax to establish tobacco-free zones
crack down on e-cigarettes as popularity booms
activities are being held in the area
Parks To Enact Smoking Ban
Adopts Non-Smoking Policy
Company goes smoke-free
vs. preference: Wonk Blog misses the boat on contraception ...
proposes cigarette tax increase
debate flares over electronic cigarettes
giant weighs in on the debate over Cville cigarette tax increase
Considers Increasing Cigarette Tax
Landmark Theater is Renamed Altria Theater
to be sold at Va. Beach jail canteen
wild west of e-cigarettes
discusses E-Cigarettes and teens
Picture a puff-free planet
tobacco use at Langley AFB
retail group urges youth e-cig ban
Government Insider: Another 'fact' out of DC you can't believe
e-cigarettes not allowed on trains
Signs: Tobacco-Free Community Coalition takes comprehensive approach
Red-Light cameras, and Concussions
poised to ban sales of "e-cigs" to minors
Cigarettes May Be a Thing of the Past for Young Virginians
tobacco on campus is hypocritical
E-Cigs Mean for Tobacco-Happy Virginia
inhales new vaping trend
House votes to ban e-cigarettes in schools
butt litter needs to go
year marks the rise of e-cigarettes
"It is going to change the landscape of the traditional cigarette market," Xu said. ... Unlike conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes do not burn tobacco or contain tobacco ... local sellers say they abide by laws that prohibit tobacco sales to minors....
You Think You Know About E-cigarettes is Probably Wrong
So e-cigarettes are dangerous and addictive but at least non-smokers don't have to worry about the dangerous effects of second-hand smoke, right? Well, the ...
grow in popularity, but still risky
court: Hookah lounge exempt from smoking ban
A divided Virginia Court of Appeals has ruled that a Blacksburg hookah lounge is exempt from the state's restaurant smoking ban. In a 6-3 ruling Tuesday, the ...
hookah lounge wins appeal over smoking ban
In a 6-3 ruling Tuesday, the court said the She-Sha Cafe and Hookah
Lounge is not subject to the ban because it's a retail tobacco store
as well as a restaurant ...
Ponds Goes Smoke Free
Rogers health officials urge smokers to quit for just one day ...
Housing Banning Smoking to Cut Costs
considers smoking ban in public-housing projects
Authority member Elroy Miller tells The Daily News Record that a no-smoking policy would reduce maintenance costs. He says it also would provide a more ...
Council Considers Asking for Smoking Ban in Publ ...
shop downtown clears the air with E-cigarettes
County apartments going smoke-free
company opening in Central Park
district to survey businesses and work sites about tobacco policies
Badger Tavern goes smoke-free inside
regulation debate heats up
smoking ban lights the way for DC
Schools goes tobacco free Thursday
Attorney General Faces Scrutiny for Ties to Executive
taxes to rise in Colonial Beach
Canterbury to Go Smoke Free
Towns Increase Cigarette Taxes
SALEM, Va. (AP) - Cigarette taxes are going up in Salem and Vinton. Beginning July 1, Salem's cigarette tax will increase from 20 cents a pack to 45 cents. Vinton's tax will rise from 20 cents a pack to 35 cents.
raises tax 15 cents on cigarettes to stave off cuts
The Vinton Town Council recently voted to increase the towns cigarette tax, a move that will raise just under $160,000 a year, officials said.
expects cigarette tax hike to raise $150,000
commission OK's hookah lounge
cigarette tax will hurt the poor
City Council moves to raise its cigarette tax
is a tobacco-free campus
Town Council approves budget, tax hikes
agencies go smoke-free
Va appeals court to review ruling that hookah lounge is subject ...
considering modest tax increases
to Consider Tax Hike, Extended Meter Hours
Board Passes Wider No-Smoking Ban
Association To Mull Wider Smoking Ban
to allow beach smoking bans is snuffed out
on smoking in cars dies
cities to keep butts off the beach
Ban on County Property
group asks retailers to post anti-smoking signs
Senate approves bill to ban smoking on public beaches
Puller Vote for Ban on Smoking in Car With Kids
passes ban on smoking with kids in car
ticket for smoking with kids in the car? Maybe
man to speak on beach smoking ban
Bills Would Ban
Smoking in Cars with Kids
official pushes smoking ban on public property
Incorporated' To Screen at SLHS
Richmond apartments ban smoking
Owners Saw Increased Business Three Years after Smoking Ban
considers outlawing smoking in car with kids
Parks? County Leader Thinks It May Happen ...
to Explore Smoking Ban on Fairfax County Property
not spending much on stop-smoking programs
smoking bans save lives?
Ban in Tazewell Causes Turmoil
Town Council bans smoking in park
needs smoking ban
Stafford High Schools Receive Grants to Promote Healthy ...
to go tobacco-free
It's about time Henrico schools went smoke-free
campus going tobacco-free
school system going 100 percent smoke-free
The Henrico County school system is going tobacco-free. The Henrico
School Board voted 4-1 Thursday to ban tobacco use on school property
at all times. The ban will include athletic events and nighttime meetings
Board tables possible tobacco ban for one month
smoking ban snuffed out
By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org. STRASBURG -- A ban on smoking
in town parks and other outdoors areas failed to pass Tuesday night.
looks to become first tobacco-free local school district
Smoking and other tobacco use have long been prohibited for students,
but the district is now looking at extending the ban to faculty, staff
and visitors to county schools and school events. "We're making
our best effort to make Henrico public schools 1
to ban Chic's Beach smoking gets new ally
Donny Damon started to get discouraged when he learned the City Council
would need a new state law passed to advance his effort to ban smoking
on Chic's Beach.
County schools consider going 100% tobacco-free
Henrico County Public Schools is considering a change in their policy
concerning tobacco use and smoking on school property.
on VRE Platforms Could Be Banned
The CEO of the Virginia Railway Express will ask for the public's opinion
about a possible ban on smoking near train platforms before and after
want smoking ban on beach
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WAVY) - The Chesapeake Beach Civic League voted
to support a proposed ban. They plan to present an online ... Residents
want smoking ban in Chicks Beach. Regular Photo Size ... California
and Florida also have bans. The Chesapeake Beach ...
Beach Official Says Smoking Ban is State Issue
A group that wants a ban on smoking on beaches along the Chesapeake Bay apparently will need permission from the state, not local authorities.
want smoking ban for Chic's Beach
VIRGINIA BEACH -- Some Va. Beach residents want to ban smoking on the
beaches of the Chesapeake bay, but that fight likely has to be settled
by state ...
looks to "Kick the Habit" around city's parks
Parks & Recreation is exploring expanding its tobacco-free zones
to discourage smoking around playgrounds, fields and other places where
parks to go tobacco free
It is the first locality in Central Virginia to adopt a formal tobacco-free policy. Signs that read: â€Please no tobacco useâ€ due to community values, ...
leaders consider curbing tobacco use at public parks
playground smoking ban
Even smokers want the butts off playgrounds. Dad George Brrnilovich
is a smoker and favors a new ban on smoking on public playgrounds in
By Patti S. Borda Hot on the heels of a Senate bill to ban smoking
in cars with children 8 and younger, the city banned smoking near city
council puts off decision on smoke-free policy
After hearing from a few residents about a proposal to implement a
tobacco-free policy at town parks and public facilities a first
among Central Virginia localities town council members this week
decided to look more closely at the wording and bring the matter back
for further consideration. ...
policy to get more study
After hearing from four people Tuesday night about a tobacco-free policy
on town recreational property, Altavista Town Council referred the issue
to one of ...
Senate passes curbs on smoking
Smoking would be prohibited on school grounds and in government buildings
under two bills easily passed by the Virginia Senate today.
Could Provide Localities Ability to Ban Smoking on School Grounds
A local House of Delegates members bill to allow public-school
districts to ban smoking outdoors on their properties has met defeat,
but a companion bill is advancing in the state Senate. ...
Virginia law currently does not allow local governments to ban smoking
in outdoor areas of public parks. Arlington officials last year began
a campaign to ...
says 'please' put out that butt
to Request Public Refrain from Smoking in Parks
smoking in Va public housing
effective is Virginia's smoking ban?
Virginia cities to ban smoking in public housing, policies are 1st in
tries to ban lighting up in legislators' offices
Despite broadened prohibitions in recent years on lighting up around the commonwealth, smoking is allowed in state lawmakers' offices.
An executive order signed in 2006 by then-Gov. Timothy M. Kaine prohibits lighting up in offices occupied by executive-branch agencies, including colleges and universities, and state-owned vehicles.
But the executive branch does not dictate the affairs of the legislative branch, which controls the General Assembly Building.
Del. Patrick A. Hope, D-Arlington, attempted this year to put Kaine's
bans on smoking into the state code and to expand them to include any
building owned or leased by the commonwealth or any agency or institution
of, or any building owned or leased by a locality ...
Asthma Capital Again
There is no place free from asthma triggers, and some cities are more
challenging places to live than others. For the second year in a row,
Richmond, VA, 2011 Asthma Capitalshas been named the "Asthma Capital"
in the research and ranking by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of
America (AAFA). The annual Asthma Capitals report is a list of the 100
most challenging places to live with asthma. ...
year later, more than 90% of restaurants in Virginia smoke-free
...In Virginia, state lawmakers last year broke their traditional resistance to tougher public-smoking rules by passing a law that prohibits smoking in restaurants with few exceptions.
Since the law took effect a year ago today, about 93 percent of eateries
in the state have gone smoke-free indoors. The rest offer smoking areas
that are enclosed and vented separately. ...
smoking ban considered for Roanoke City
Julia Thompson is a smoker and says if she wants to light up in city parks she should be able to. The government is taking our rights away a little bit at a time.
This is at least the third year the City Council has requested the General Assembly allow localities to be able to ban smoking in some outdoor areas. However, each year it has failed, so they tweaked it to be more specific this time around.
The ban on cigarette smoke could apply to places similar to the tunnel leading into Rivers Edge Sporting Complex where some people have to walk through the smoke to get to the game.
Cigarette smoke would also be banned at youth sporting events and close
to entrances and exit ways of city buildings ...
restaurants, bars embrace state's smoke-free law
"I think the numbers show that the restaurant and hospitality industry have embraced the new law, and the general public has, also," Hagy said last week.
That doesn't mean the restaurants and bars have gone smoke-free.
On a recent Friday afternoon, Poppa's Pub Sportz Bar & Grill in Virginia Beach was thrumming. The bar and most of the tables were packed - with smokers.
Only one area was empty - a small room toward the front with four tables. That's the non smoking room at Poppa's.
It's legal. The law, which will turn one year old Wednesday, doesn't require restaurants and bars to ban smoking indoors, as did a North Carolina law that took effect in January.
They may establish separate smoking and non smoking areas if they are
"structurally separated" and "separately vented"
and if the nonsmoking room has one entrance from outside. The law does
not mandate a minimum size for the rooms, Hagy said. ...
Beach considers extending smoking ban
BETHANY BEACH -- Two years after it prohibited smoking on the beach during the summer, the Town Council will consider making the ban a year-round regulation.
In 2008, officials approved the ordinance, which outlaws smoking on the boardwalk, bandstand, playgrounds and town parks. On the beach, smoking is prohibited -- except in designated areas -- from May 15 through Sept. 15.
According to Mayor Tony McClenny, several citizens asked the Town Council to make the ban a permanent, year-round rule. Officials will consider the request at a workshop, scheduled for 10 a.m. Nov. 22.
"We do try to listen when people (have these requests)," he said ...
County bans smoking in bus shelters
After a public hearing Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a ban on smoking in county-owned bus shelters. Violators will be fined up to $25 under the ban, which goes into effect Dec. 1.
The Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act requires state agencies and localities to consider reasonable no-smoking areas in any building they own or lease. The ban comes after the state's prohibition on smoking in restaurants, and the legislation repeals a section of the county code that requires restaurants to designate a percentage of their seating as no-smoking areas.
Larry Sternbane, a regular Richmond Highway Express (REX) bus commuter,
encouraged the supervisors to pass the smoking ban. ...
Gridlock - Fairfax weighs ban on smoking
Fairfax officials are considering a ban on smoking in county-owned bus shelters.
The board is expected to authorize a public hearing on the ban at its meeting Tuesday, which is underway. The Virginia Clean Door Act requires state agencies and localities to consider reasonable no-smoking areas in any building they own or lease. ...
Scene - 13 arrested for smoking in Falls Church
After repeated complaints about people smoking in and around a group of Vietnamese restaurants in Falls Church, police there last week arrested nine smokers for lighting up in "non-designated areas" of the restaurants and arrested four others for allowing smoking.
The 13 arrests for smoking followed months of complaints about the establishments in Eden Center, which is home to a number of Vietnamese eateries and shops. . . .
Barbara Gordon, a spokeswoman for the City of Falls Church, said the police department had been receiving complaints about smoking at Eden Center for quite some time and included concerns about people smoking in the restaurants and depositing cigarette butts in areas where smoking is legally prohibited.
Police made the arrests at the following restaurants: Hai Lua, Pho Bien, Café Nho, Café Le Mirage, Tay Do and Hoa Vien Quan. ...
moves to ban smoking at bus shelters
Fairfax County officials are pushing to ban smoking at all public bus shelters, eight months after Virginia's restaurant-and-bar smoking ban went into effect.
The ban would address the "health implications of breathing secondhand smoke," said Fairfax Supervisor Jeff C. McKay (D-Lee), the board's transportation committee chairman. Virginia's no-smoking law was approved by the General Assembly in February 2009 and went into effect last December. The District and Maryland have similar state laws regarding smoking in restaurants and bars.
The Virginia Clean Air Act allows localities to institute "reasonable
no-smoking areas" at publicly-owned or leased facilities and bus
shelters qualify as buildings under Virginia's building code. The Board
of Supervisors voted unanimously late Tuesday to draft an ordinance
for final adoption. ...
Virginia faith groups endorse anti-tobacco resolution
Two major faith groups from Virginia joined recently the fight in their state against the use of tobacco.
The two denominations are the United Church of Christ and the United Methodists. Embodying hundreds of thousands of Virginians, they backed up the Faith United Against Tobacco in Virginia Resolution, the PR Newswire said.
Under this resolution, comprehensive policies are being endorsed against smoking including full funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, increasing state tobacco tax, and rendering all places of work smoke-free, PR Newswire said.
Endorsing the policy, the faith groups said, will save lives and reduce illnesses caused by tobacco smoking. They also urged other faith groups in Virginia to join them in the fight against tobacco, PR Newswire said.
The role of faith leaders has always been critical in addressing social
issues, especially where children and vulnerable people are concerned,
Tobacco-Free Kids said in their website. ...
See Profits from Smoking Ban
Lynchburg, VA - It's been almost six months now since you haven't been able to smoke in the main areas of restaurants.
It was a big deal when the law went through, but the Lynchburg area health department says they've had to investigate very few violations.
Business owners we spoke with Monday say the ban has actually been helpful. ...
Ban Violators Could Face Liquor License Revocation
Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) can actually take away an establishment's liquor license --- if they're caught breaking the smoking ban law over and over again.
Will Horton, general manager of the Rock Falls Tavern plays by the rules when it comes to Virginia's state smoking ban --- with a smoking and non-smoking section.
He says he's lucky the ban hasn't affected his bottom line.
"Business has been pretty good", he says. ...
center smoking ban goes into effect
The days of inmates lighting up a cigarette came to an end Monday across the state after the Virginia Department of Corrections enacted a tobacco ban that snuffed out smokes and chewing tobacco for both convicts and employees alike. ...
restaurants complying with smoking ban
That number is low, they said.
"We didn't know what to expect, but considering the number of complaints that we've received, it's a good sign that most restaurants and customers are in compliance," said Larry Hill, a spokesman for the department's eastern region, which includes Hampton Roads, Western Tidewater, the Eastern Shore and Northern Neck.
The number of complaints was compiled from health districts and goes through the end of last week, Hill said. Of the reported complaints, 33 were in Virginia Beach, nine in Chesapeake, eight in Hampton, eight in Portsmouth, seven on the Peninsula and three in Norfolk. ...
Gets On-Air Call From Obama
... As a break from politicians, Grammy-winning pop musician Bruce Hornsby called to thank Kaine for supporting a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars in Virginia.
ban begins at bars and restaurants in Virginia
Puffing a Marlboro and sipping a margarita, Patty Turney sat at the bar for happy hour at Norfolk's Colley Cantina.
She had only a few more hours to enjoy her cigarette. At 11:59, the
staff planned to urge patrons to hurry up and "smoke 'em if you
got 'em. "
Smoking ban appeals
More than anything, the bill will improve workplace safety. . . .
Waitresses, hosts and bartenders work for hours, night after night in smoke-filled rooms. Even if they do not smoke themselves, the effects of second-hand smoke from their workplace could cause health issues. The smoking ban will greatly diminish this hazard.
A 1998 survey showed that only 24.8 percent of people smoke in the
United States. It is time for the minority to stop polluting the air
of the majority when we are paying to eat out. ...
Dining, fresh air are compatible in Va.
It's also the smell of roasted garlic, chicken soup, lemon meringue pie and paella, scents made all the more mouth-watering by the absence of another odor that makes a welcome exit from Virginia's restaurants.
A new law that bans smoking in restaurants takes effect today. The stench of cigarette and cigar smoke has already become less familiar in recent months as many eating establishments erased tobacco from their menu well before the Dec. 1 deadline. . . .
So tonight, celebrate Virginia's new smoking ban with dinner at your
favorite restaurant. Better yet, try one that you gave up years ago
because you couldn't stand the smoke. Make sure to tip your waiter well
and thank the manager for the fresh air.
Going, Gone in Virginia
It's an amazing victory for Virginia non-puffers in this state famous for those amazing tobacco auctions where auctioneers for decades held the house spellbound when they spewed a semi-intelligible auction yodel -- with the punch line: "Going Once, Going Twice, Sold!"
In this case, the ban was sold to those Virginians who have been trying unsuccessfully -- until now -- to join neighboring Maryland and the District in restaurant smoking bans.
There are exceptions: private clubs and restaurants with physically separate rooms with their own ventilation systems, as well as bars with open-air outside areas. ...
Commissioner: Go smoke-free a couple of weeks early
To mark the upcoming ban on smoking in restaurants, Virginias Health Commissioner today called on Virginians to show their support for the new law and local businesses by dining at their favorite smoke-free restaurants.
The Commonwealths new law to eliminate smoking in Virginiarestaurants and protect restaurant workers and patrons from secondhand smoke takes effect Dec. 1. Secondhand smoke is responsible for as many as 1,040 adult deaths per year in Virginia. During restaurant inspections, the Virginia Department of Health will check to ensure that smoking paraphernalia such as ashtrays are removed and that required no smoking signs are displayed. The health department will also observe whether anyone in a smoke-free area is smoking and whether any designated smoking areas are in fact structurally separate from non-smoking dining rooms.
At a news conference today, Commissioner Karen Remley, M.D., MBA, recognized the 34th annual Great American Smokeout and encouraged Virginians to join her in expressing gratitude to Virginias restaurant and hospitality industry for supporting efforts to protect public health.
I am encouraging you to join me in the Commonwealth Breathe Easy Challenge by going to your favorite restaurant on Dec. 1 to thank them for creating a smoke-free environment and congratulating them for their business success, Commissioner Remley said. Smoke-free dining protects public health, makes good business sense, improves our quality of life and will help all Virginians to breathe easy.
Virginians can learn more about the new law and download appreciation cards from the VDH Web site (www.vdh.virginia.gov/breatheeasy) to thank restaurants that are smoke-free and encourage others to make the move. The Web site answers frequently asked questions and offers no smoking signs and materials for restaurant owners to share with customers and staff. ...
Kaine in Norfolk today for countdown to smoking ban
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine will be in Norfolk today to help kick off the countdown to the state's restaurant smoking ban.
Kaine will speak at 8:30 a.m. at Panera Bread, 739 W. 21st St., a news release from his office says.
The state's smoking ban takes effect Dec. 1.
Kaine also plans to events to kick of the smoking ban in Richmond, Roanoke and Burke, the release says. ...
smoking at the Virginia Zoo
The Virginia Zoo has banned smoking throughout the entire facility.
The ban is effective immediately and prohibits smoking both outdoors and inside the buildings.
Deadline Looming, Many Restaurants Going Smoke Free
Given the choice, Healy opted not to outfit his establishment with a private room for smoking.
"I think you're pushing a ball uphill," declared Healy. "I think the way of the world is less smoking in public places."
The native New Yorker added that the ban has worked well in the Empire State, where his relatives own a restaurant that has flourished with tighter smoking regulations.
Plus, Healy noted patrons don't have to worry about what their hair and clothing will smell like after a night out.
official says smoking not its issue
CHARLESTON, W.Va.--The head of the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration doesn't want his agency wedged into the ongoing battle between Tri-State Racetrack and the Kanawha County health board.
Anita Ray, county health director, recently sent a letter to the alcohol control agency stating she would contact the agency if the racetrack defied the countywide smoking ban, an insinuation that the liquor agency should revoke Tri-State's liquor license.
In Tri-State's defense, Dan Adkins, vice president of Hartman & Tyner Inc., which owns the racetrack, shot off a letter to the liquor agency this week contending that the health board withheld several important facts in its letter.
Alcohol Beverage Control Commissioner Dallas Staples said the smoking ban issue isn't on his agency's radar. ...
new state laws are in effect today
New state laws that ban text messaging while driving and get tougher on drunken drivers take effect today.
In a 46-day session, the General Assembly approved 879 bills, most of which are now law.
The session will probably be best known for a measure prohibiting smoking in most restaurants and bars in Virginia. This measure will not take effect until Dec. 1 to give restaurant owners more time to prepare for the ban. ...
Make dining, public activities smoke-free
Gov. Timothy Kaine signed the legislation in March. The law means that
restaurants will allow people to smoke in a separate room away from
the non-smoking areas. Exceptions are private clubs and outdoor areas.
to sign restaurant-bar smoking ban legislation today
The compromise measure restricts smoking in restaurants to ones with rooms that are ventilated separately and to private clubs.
smoking ban goes to the governor
Virginia, which 400 years ago helped found a nation on the leafy cash crop of tobacco, yesterday took a significant step toward smoke-free restaurants and bars.
Lawmakers passed and sent to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine a measure that restricts smoking in restaurants to ones with rooms that are ventilated separately and to private clubs.
Kaine, who in 2006 had issued an executive order banning smoking in state government buildings, said he will sign the legislation.
"I think it will be signed quite swiftly -- in the quickest-drying ink I can find," Kaine said outside his office.
The Democratic-controlled state Senate voted 27-13 to pass Senate Bill 1105. The tally in the Republican-controlled House of Delegates was 60-39.
An identical piece of legislation, House Bill 1703, cleared a Senate committee yesterday and also is on track for approval.
Ban Passes In Va.
The Virginia General Assembly gave final approval Thursday to a plan
that prohibits smoking in most of the state's bars and restaurants,
handing Gov. Timothy M. Kaine one of his first significant legislative
"I think it . . . demonstrates persistence can be a virtue," Kaine said at a news conference. "I learned early on you've got to stick with something you believe in and maybe you can make it happen."
Starting Dec. 1, smoking will be banned in most restaurants and bars, although it would be permitted in private clubs, on some outdoor patios and in separate ventilated rooms.
"It's just a big step in the right direction for the health of
Virginians," said Sen. Ralph S. Northam (D-Norfolk), a pediatric
We appreciate the intent of Governor Kaine and members of the General Assembly who recognize the harmful effects of secondhand smoke and sought to provide some protection for the public and workers in restaurants with the smoke-free restaurant legislation that passed today. We only wish this legislation had gone further and protected all Virginia restaurant workers from secondhand smoke.
It is unfortunate that Virginia will not join the 24 other states that
have passed smoke-free laws that cover ALL restaurants and bars - the
cheapest, fairest, and most effective strategy for protecting all workers
and patrons from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
smoking ban bill passed by Va. Senate committee
Kaine supports the smoking ban concept.
The measure, SB1105, bans smoking in bars and restaurants except for private clubs, facilities with separate smoking areas equipped with independent ventilation systems and establishments that have open-air outdoor patios.
The House, which earlier in the session attempted to water down the ban, voted for the bill, 60-39. The bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Ralph Northam, D-Norfolk, passed the Senate, 27-13.
Assembly notebook: Smoking ban up for discussion; Senators kill proposed
'right to work' amendment
The fate of a proposal to ban smoking in Virginia restaurants will soon be in the hands of a few key negotiators.
The House and Senate moved Tuesday to put one version of that bill (Senate Bill 1105) into conference, wherein appointees from each chamber hash out the details. A second version (House Bill 1703) was approved by a Senate committee on an 8-7 vote, but it's likely headed for the same fate.
Earlier this month, Gov. Tim Kaine and House Speaker Bill Howell, R-Stafford County, announced they had reached agreement on a measure to ban smoking in all restaurants except for private clubs and restaurants that have a separately ventilated smoking section.
The agreement represents a compromise that came only after years of failed efforts to pass a statewide or local-option smoking ban. But it's already come under fire ...
Senate rejects House changes to smoking-ban bill
The Virginia Senate revitalized a tough smoking ban bill Monday by rejecting several House of Delegates amendments that proponents felt would weaken the legislation.
Stripped out of the bill were House modifications to permit smoking in any establishment during hours that they did not admit minors or when the place is rented for a private function. Also removed was an amendment that required a separate smoking space in a restaurant to be divided by only a door, not a room with an independent ventilation system.
The Senate action came after several legislators met last week with Gov. Timothy M. Kaine in an effort to restore a compromise bill that would ban smoking in many bars and restaurants across the state.
The Senate and House versions of smoking ban legislation are expected to end up in a conference committee where the differences between the two versions can be resolved, said Sen. Ralph Northam, D-Norfolk.
smoking ban tentatively approved by Va. House
A statewide ban on smoking in most restaurants and bars was watered down and tentatively approved Monday by the House of Delegates on Monday.
A series of amendments supported by Republicans and rural Democrats left the measure well short of its original aim to outlaw smoking in all eateries except those that build enclosed areas with separate ventilation systems for puffers.
Saying the measure would force many small restaurant and bar owners out of business, the House erased the separate ventilation requirement and voted to permit smoking in any room separated from the rest of the establishment by a door. . . .
The American Lung Association, which last week gave a nod to the smoking ban, vowed to oppose the House amendments.
"They gutted the bill," said David DeBiasi, a lobbyist for the association. "This bill is a joke now."
ban to be delayed if passed
If a compromise bill to ban smoking in restaurants and bars in Virginia passes the House of Delegates next week, it wont go into effect until Oct. 1.
The House General Laws Committee voted Friday 9-4 to delay the effective date of the ban from July 1 until Oct. 1 to give restaurants and bars more time to comply with the provisions of the law.
banning smoking move forward in Va. Senate
A state Senate panel this morning passed a slew of bills that would place restrictions on public smoking in certain venues.
Three of the proposals that advanced from the Senate Education and Health committee are sponsored by South Hampton Roads legislators. Sens. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, and Fred Quayle, R-Suffolk, are both carrying bills that would give localities enhanced powers to restrict indoor smoking.
bills may test if tobacco is still king in Va.
Should state government protect Moskowitz and millions of others by banning smoking in restaurants? The debate is fuming in the General Assembly this winter, where lawmakers are considering about a dozen bills that would limit lighting up.
A coalition of health-care groups, saying the costs of secondhand smoke on lives and the economy are too great to ignore, wants to ban smoking in restaurants. The measure is endorsed by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and appears to have safe passage though the state Senate, which has approved the ban in each of the past two years.
But a snag remains in the House of Delegates, where Republican leaders say government should not referee smoking in restaurants.
"Restaurant owners don't need government to tell them what to do," said Del. Tom Gear, R-Hampton, who heads a subcommittee that has killed the bill without a recorded vote in each of the past two years.
smoke-ban supporters lobby at Capitol
About 150 volunteers descended on the Capitol, urging legislators to vote for bills that would crack down on smoking in workplaces and increase the state's cigarette tax to $1.20 from 30 cents per pack. A coalition of public-health groups organized the effort.
"In Virginia, where tobacco is such a significant part of our history, it can take a lot of courage to stand up for smoke-free legislation," Del. David L. Englin, D-Alexandria, told volunteers who gathered at the Library of Virginia before going to the Capitol. "You represent the 75 percent of Virginians who want to see this happen."
Englin is carrying legislation in the House of Delegates proposed by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine that would prohibit smoking in all restaurants. At least 13 other bills dealing with indoor smoking have been introduced, including three that would impose broad restrictions on smoking in indoor, public areas.
The legislation faces opposition from some business groups and tobacco companies, such as Henrico County-based Altria Group Inc, parent company of cigarette-maker Philip Morris USA. Opponents argue that state-imposed restrictions are unnecessary, because restaurants and other workplaces can go smoke-free voluntarily.
measure allowing local smoking limits stalls
A Senate bill that would allow Virginia localities to enact their own restrictions on smoking in restaurants has stalled in committee.
The Committee on Local Government deadlocked Tuesday on two votes -- one to outright reject the legislation, the other to refer the bill to a more favorable committee. The 6-6 votes means the bill can resurface this session before the same committee.
'09: Local student's smoking concerns lead to bill
Legislators such as Sen. Ralph S. Northam have noted this year an increased concern with how smoking affects not only those who light up but also people nearby.
"If you talk to Virginians, about 75 percent of them would like to be able to go into a restaurant and not be exposed to secondhand smoke," said Northam, a neurologist and pediatrician who represents the Eastern Shore and parts of Tidewater in the Senate.
"It's a health issue," he said.
Northam is sponsoring two bills this session to address the matter -- Senate Bill 1105 and Senate Bill 1106.
SB 1105 would ban smoking in all indoor restaurants, lounge areas and bars in Virginia. It also would require the venue to erect "No Smoking" signs. The bill would add a penalty for such violations to the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act, which passed in 1990.
As the legislation stands, restaurants that seat 50 or more people must designate a sufficient no-smoking area for their customers. . . .
SB 1106, a bill to ban smoking in vehicles with minors present, resulted from a discussion between the senator and some students of Kegotank Elementary School in Accomack County.
Conversation With Tim Kaine
Gov. Tim Kaine sat down for a Newsmakers session on Monday with editors
and reporters from The Times-Dispatch newsroom and Editorial Pages.
. . .
Smoking ban: . . . There are smoking ban bills being put in by Republicans
this year. Just slightly different than mine. I don't yet know all the
bills but bills are getting put in. There's kind of a ferment on this
issue that is going to lead to some significant discussion . . . .
T-D: The tobacco tax is probably one of the least unpopular taxes you can impose on people, but it seems like there's a couple problems with it. It never seem to raise as much money as it is expected to and it is maybe the most regressive tax out there. Does that concern you that it's going to hit lower income people and finally, in Virginia, it's going to hit some industries that are pretty important here?
ban proposed for Va. bars and restaurants
Campaign: Clean Air Should Be on VA Menus 'Round the Clock
Richmond, VA - Clean air shouldn't have a "closing time." That's the message behind a new campaign that supports a 24-hour smoke-free law for the Commonwealth. The campaign is a response to reports that some state officials are considering a smoke-free plan that would still allow smoking in Virginia restaurants after 10 p.m.
Keenan Caldwell is with the American Cancer Society, one of half a dozen groups supporting the campaign. He says the "late night" exception leaves the health of workers and customers at risk.
"Because of the dangers of second-hand smoke, which contains more than 4,000 chemicals -- 69 known to cause cancer -- it's just not protecting the health of Virginians."
for Public Smoking Ban Are Snuffed Out
The Virginia House of Delegates defeated several proposals Thursday to prohibit smoking in restaurants, stores, offices and other public places, effectively killing all anti-smoking legislation for this year's General Assembly session.
For the fourth year in a row, the Republican-controlled House killed a smoking ban in the state, where tobacco farming and cigarette manufacturing have been integral to the economy.
bills that ban public smoking die in House
A House subcommittee killed a series of bills Thursday to enact a smoking ban in restaurants and other buildings, likely foreshadowing the fate of similar Senate legislation.
After more than an hour of testimony from the bills' supporters and opponents, the House General Laws subcommittee on ABC and Gaming unanimously voted down eight measures that would have restricted smoking in public areas.
"It's clearly, if someone wants to go nonsmoking in a restaurant, they can do it," said subcommittee chairman Del. Tom Gear, R-Hampton, prior to the votes. "I don't think it's up to the government to intervene and tell the restaurant they have to do something. They can do it on their own."
Del. Terrie Suit, R-Virginia Beach, who leads the full House General Laws Committee, said she had once been in favor of a smoking ban. But in recent years, she said she's found that more and more restaurants are doing it themselves.
passes smoking bans
The state Senate yesterday adopted three anti-smoking bills of varying restrictions that would kick the habit out of most enclosed public places in the state.
Senate Bill 298, the most comprehensive measure approved, would prohibit smoking "indoors in most buildings or enclosed areas frequented by the public." It covers banks, sports arenas, restaurants and shopping malls.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, D-Arlington, would require "No Smoking" signs . . .
The bill passed by a vote of 23-15, but not before a handful of Republican senators tried to defeat the measure.
"It's a direct violation of the rights of Americans to perform a perfectly legal activity," said Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, R-Fairfax, who questioned the bill's constitutionality.
Sen. Stephen H. Martin, R-Chesterfield, and Sen. Stephen D. Newman, R-Lynchburg, said the proposed law was too broad
Percent of Virginia Voters Support Smoke-Free Workplaces
looks to snuff-out smoking in Virginia's restaurants
officials pursue restaurant smoking ban
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Norfolk officials are ignoring a state attorney general's opinion and moving ahead in their effort to ban smoking in restaurants and bars.
Attorney General Bob McDonnell says in an advisory opinion that a locality cannot impose smoking restrictions that are more stringent than those imposed by the state.
Norfolk City Attorney Bernard Pishko says the city is not relying on the Virginia
Clean Indoor Air Act. Instead, it's relying on the city charter, which Pishko
says permits smoking restrictions in two sections. One is through police powers
ensuring the health and safety of citizens. The other is a provision giving the
city power to order reductions in smoke and dust.
Throw Out the Ashtrays
So the evidence continues to pile up: Not only do smoking bans work but Americans also desperately need them.
Talk of smoking bans tends to ruffle feathers in places such as Virginia, where the state's House of Delegates rejected a smoking ban for public workplaces in February.
BRADBERY/TACELOSKY: A Better Smoking Ban