Kaine, Howell strike compromise on smoking ban

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Virginia’s top officials announced a compromise that would ban smoking in bars and restaurants with exceptions for private clubs and restaurants with a separate and independently ventilated smoking area.

“The compromise strikes a fair balance between the rights of smokers who choose to enjoy a legal product and the rights of other individuals who want to enjoy a smoke-free environment when eating at a restaurant,” Speaker of the House William J. Howell said in a statement.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has pushed for such a smoking ban, only to see his legislation to die in a House of Delegates subcommittee. Howell, a Republican, worked with Kaine, a Democrat, to develop the compromise.

Kaine’s original proposal this year would have banned all smoking in all bars and restaurants, including private dining facilities.

“The dangers of second-hand smoke are undeniable —that’s why I made a restaurant smoking ban one of my legislative priorities,” Kaine said in a statement. “This legislation will make Virginia’s restaurants safer for both patrons and employees.”

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