Smoking snuffed out in Virginia restaurants and bars

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Gov. Timothy M. Kaine signed legislation Monday that will prohibit smoking in Virginia’s restaurants and bars starting Dec. 1.

Under the new law, smoking will be allowed only in private clubs and rooms in restaurants that are separately ventilated and structurally independent of other rooms.  Smoking will also be allowed on restaurant patios and outside seating areas, as long as they are not covered with temporary enclosures.

“This reasonable and necessary public health measure has been one of my priorities for several years, and I appreciate the work of so many dedicated legislators and staffs, advocates and stakeholders, and members of my staff who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to bring it to fruition,” Kaine said in a statement.

The Virginia Department of Health will determine whether restaurants are in compliance with the law on routine inspections. Restaurants and bars are required to post “No-Smoking” signs and remove all ashtrays and other smoking paraphernalia.

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