The Virginia General Assembly has finally banned smoking in bars and restaurants and the bill goes to Governor Kaine who will almost certainly sign it with ” the quickest drying ink he can find.” After weeks of debate the legislation passed despite the opposition of Phillip Morris, the nation’s largest cigarette producer, headquartered in Richmond.
There are a few exceptions to the ban such as:
1. Any outdoor area of a restaurant
2. Any portion of a restaurant that has a door and is separately vented to prevent the recirculation of air
3. Any portion of a restaurant that is used exclusively for private functions and those portions of the restaurant are separately vented and have a door
4. private clubs
One of the more important sections of the bill says “No individual who is wait staff or bus staff in a restaurant shall be required by the proprietor to work in an area of the restaurant where smoking may be permitted without the consent of such individual.”
Finally, the staff can avoid the health effects of second hand smoke. In June 2006 the U.S.Surgeon General reported that there is no safe level of exposure to second hand smoke.
At last, health wins over big tobacco in Virginia.