State Senate approves three smoking bans

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Three levels of smoking bans passed the state Senate Tuesday but are headed for a challenge in the House of Delegates.

The most far-reaching bill, sponsored by state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, D-Arlington, would prohibit smoking in most public places, including banks, restaurants and shopping malls. That passed with a 23-15 vote.

Another option, which passed 28 to 10, would prohibit smoking in bars and restaurants. A proposal to give localities the ability to restrict smoking in restaurants passed 29 to 1.

Supporters of smoking bans argue the health detriments of secondhand smoke are clear. Opponents, including the hospitality and restaurant industries, argue economics should dictate whether smoking is allowed in a business.

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