Kaine pushes for smoking ban in restaurants

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Gov. Timothy M. Kaine is pushing for a ban on smoking in restaurants for the second year in a row.

“The scientific evidence about the health risks associated with exposure to secondhand smoke remains clear and convincing,” Kaine said in a statement. “I am compelled by concern for the health and wellbeing of all Virginians, as well as recognition of the high public costs of secondhand smoke, to once again ask the members of the General Assembly to approve this necessary and reasonable legislation.”

Under Kaine’s proposal, smoking would be prohibited in all areas of restaurants where food is prepared, served or consumed. Exterior areas of restaurants would not be subject to the ban.

The Medical Society of Virginia, the Virginia chapters of the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the Cancer Society, March of Dimes, and American Academy of Pediatrics all support the proposal.

Kaine said he wants to protect restaurant employees, who have a 50 percent greater risk of dying from lung cancer than the overall population, according to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Sen. Ralph Northam, D-Norfolk, will sponsor the legislation.

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