Below The Beltway

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The War On Smoking Reaches Virginia

by @ 7:38 am on January 26, 2007. Filed under Individual Liberty, Virginia, Virginia Politics

If one Virginia Senator has his way, the Old Dominion could be the latest state to ban smoking in restaurants and most other public places:

RICHMOND, Va. — Smokers in the nation’s fourth-leading tobacco-growing state would be banned from lighting up in restaurants and most other indoor public places if a bill endorsed Thursday by a Virginia Senate committee becomes law.

The Education and Health Committee voted 9-5 to send Sen. Brandon Bell’s bill to the Senate floor, where similar legislation narrowly passed last year only to die later in a House of Delegates subcommittee.

Bell, R-Roanoke, said the measure is needed to protect Virginians from the health hazards of secondhand smoke, which has been proven to cause cancer and other diseases.

“It is a powerful carcinogen,” said Dr. Antonio Longo, an Alexandria pulmonary specialist who was the only witness Bell brought before a committee that heard extensive testimony on the issue last year.

But not everyone in Virginia is caught up in the anti-smoking hysteria:

Christopher M. Savvides, owner of the Black Angus Restaurant in Virginia Beach, said he should be allowed to determine his own smoking policy.

“It’s not about smoking, it’s about my right as business to do what I need to do to attract customers,” Savvides said.

He said many restaurants have gone smoke-free voluntarily while others continue to accommodate smokers, providing plenty of options for Virginians no matter what their smoking preference.

Julia Hammond, a lobbyist for the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association, emphasized the same point.

“The current system is working,” she said. “There are several different types of smoking environments for customers.”

Give people choices. What a radical concept.

Cross-Posted at The Liberty Papers

5 Responses to “The War On Smoking Reaches Virginia”

  1. More nanny state nonsense.

  2. saskboy says:

    The public building smoking ban I first encountered was in Ottawa and it was quite liberating. Then my home province took it up about two years ago, and money spent in restaurants has gone up, by the figures in the stats collected by the very industry that protested the ban in the first place.

    Get on board, you’ll like it.

  3. Saskboy,

    Thanks, but I prefer freedom

  4. saskboy says:

    Smoke free restaurants are freedom – to the majority of people. Smokers still are free to smoke, they just have to go outside like their mommas should have taught them, instead of developing poor table manners by burning their drugs at the dinner table.

  5. David says:


    Great site by the way, very organized. I am on the side of the fence that agrees we need to take it out of the restaurants. I am not a regular smoker but more of a night out on the town (social) smoker. I do not care for the smell of someone else’s smoke when I’m out eating breakfast, lunch or dinner so I usually sit in non if it is available. But if I’m out with friends we usually go to the bar side.

    I do agree that smoking is hazardous to everyone especially those that can not help but take the 2nd hand smoke in such as infants, children and wait staff. Others can leave the bar if needeed.

    Smoking is great don’t get me wrong, I love cigars and the occasional cig, but we know it causes cancer so why endanger more people that choose not to smoke.

    I’ve read recently that Phillip Morris is now getting into lung research and wants to sell machines to hospitals that show lungs in 4D.

    Summary-If RIC makes it illegal to smoke in Restaurants then great, we are all better off. If not, well we have non smoking sections, the outdoors or another restaurant.

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