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Va. House Approves Limited Smoking Ban

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The Virginia House of Delegates passed a plan to ban some — but not all — smoking in restaurants and bars, the Washington Post reported Feb. 9.

Presently, certain bars and restaurants impose their own smoking rules in Virginia, where one in every five adults smokes cigarettes. If the bill is approved, Virginia will be the first Southern state to approve a smoking ban for restaurants and bars.

While some anti-smoking advocates are pleased with the potential for the ban to become law, others decried exceptions that include allowing people to smoke in rooms separated by doors, outdoor patio areas, and in clubs or bars when minors are not allowed to enter.

“From listening to today’s debate of the proposed smoke-free legislation, it appears that the House of Delegates voted to make an already bad bill even worse,” said Pete Fisher, vice president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

However, some politicians are undeterred. “The amendments gutted the bill, but the bill is still alive, and because of the way the legislative process works, there is still an opportunity for compromise,” said David Englin (D-Alexandria), who introduced Gov. Tim Kaine’s original smoking-ban bill this year.

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