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Smoking Ban: What Do You Think?

Vote in the poll below, and explain your vote in the comments.

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  February 5, 2009; 2:46 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly 2009  
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I'm from MD, and I recently had my husband's birthday party in VA. Alot of my guests from MD were surprised to find that the restaurant where I held the party allows smoking inside. I warned them before coming that there were going to be people that will smoke. This ban will help a smoke-free environments moving forward.

Posted by: swtlaney | February 5, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I am glad VA has finally decided to ban smoking. Living in the district has really spoiled me and I refuse to go to VA bars/restaurnats simply b/c of the smoke.

Posted by: scgirl622 | February 5, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The health effects on workers and patrons are clearly documented. Many other states and localities have enacted similar. The bill has provisions for places to include smoking if they make modifications. Good law, about time Virginia made this a law.

Posted by: rpike | February 5, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

P.S. the "dire warnings" from smoking lobbyists and addicted smokers about how this will kill off restaurants and bars has been shown to be false. Thought I'd put that on here, because you know the smokers will be citing this as a "fact". Check out any unbiased, non-partisan source and you can find those statistics. Avoid the smoker lobbyist or commericial sites -- those will always support smoking in places of public accommodation like restaurants as a personal freedom, nay, RIGHT, and so vitally important to the business. HA! Wrong.

Posted by: rpike | February 5, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I believe there should be as there is in many restaurants a non smoking section and a smoking section. After all - cigarettes are legal just as alcohol is- and more so you can smoke a cigarette and drive - drinking and driving dont mix.. but they serve it..

Posted by: karengail1 | February 5, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm thrilled that this day might finally arrive! I have been writing to my legislators for several years. It's archaic that we are starting to take such good care of the environment and yet nonsmokers are subjected to second-hand smoke when we go to bars and restaurants in Virginia. Cheers to Jackson's in Reston for being ahead of it's time!

Posted by: hschaefer | February 5, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

It's been really great since Maryland banned smoking in the public places. Before the ban, after going out to a bar, the next day my lungs and throat were sore.
Non smoking Virginians will really appreciate it. The non smoking women will start going to bars again and we know they are a lot cleaner people than the smokers. Like kissing an ashtray.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | February 5, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse


The only problem with that is having a drink next to other tables in a restaurant doesn't pollute the air with anything toxic and smoking does.

Smoking and non-smoking sections don't work, they're not good enough to prevent smoke in non-smoking sections, and they don't protect the health of the people serving smokers.

Smokers just need to deal with the fact that their behavior affects everyone around them and anyone who might inhale any of the toxic exhaust they produce---thus, indoor environments are simply not suitable for it. Period.

Posted by: DouginMountVernon | February 5, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Restaurants and bars are losing considerable amounts of money having to cater to "non-smokers". Is it any better having crowds of people outside each establisment smoking? Perhaps more people should switch to smoking alternatives such as Smoke safer...Smoke Anywhere!

Posted by: garymintz | February 6, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

...we know they are a lot cleaner people than the smokers. ...
How dare you say that smokers are not clean. What an assinine statement. And I'll stop at that before I get kicked off the comments page.

Posted by: mbrumble | February 6, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

I am extremely happy for this bill to be passed. As a nonsmoker I have rights too. I don't appreciate trying to eat with a smoker sitting next to me blowing smoke my way. The smoking and nonsmoking sections in restaurants don't work. The restaurant still reeks of cigarette smoke. The smell is offensive to me. I don't smoke because it is a health risk to me. I don't need others jeopardizing my health because of their habit. I have asthma. After a few hours around cigarette smoke I am affected for days.

Posted by: davissoto131 | February 6, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm still annoyed that Richmond can't keep their own house in order, but they have time to intrude on business owners. However, as an asthmatic, I do appreciate the possibility that I can go out to dinner more often. For the non-smoker, drifting smoke pretty much ruins the meal. There's no such thing as a truly "non-smoking" area of a restaurant. It just gets into every nook and cranny.

Posted by: mwcob | February 6, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I think it is great that Va finally has the bann. I don't smoke for a reason and I think I shouldn't have to suffer because other people don't have consideration for the people who don't. I have been to resturants where I can't even sit down and enjoy a meal that I pay for because someone has to smoke. Also going into bars and smelling it not great either. the worst is coming home trying to get the smell out of your clothes and hair. I don't think smokers realize that after a while it smells really bad. I have someone in my office who smokes and he tries to cover it up with mints and cologne and It doesn't work. Yeah for Virginia finally listening to us nonsmokers.

Posted by: darcyfoster | February 6, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I have worked in bars and it can get hard to breath when you are running around trying to serve drinks. I do have a cigrattee sometimes but I don't really mind having to take it outside. People shouldn't have to worry about there health because others choose to ignore theirs. I think its important that VA makes all restraunts and bars non-smoking.

Posted by: seancav9 | February 6, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

It's about time. Virginia is about 10 years behind the rest of the country in this area.

Posted by: grant5 | February 6, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

A smoking ban will hurt business at my restaurant. Almost 25% of my sales are smoking related, and will be gone. That is a fact, and I'm not alone. I have a separate ventilation system for the smoking section. It's un-American for the government to tell me how to run my business. Many restaurants have already gone smoke free on their own. That's how it should be. I can't wait until the General Assembly bans drinking, dancing and smiling.

Posted by: jtb102 | February 6, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse


As rpike said above, that is a bunch of malarky! I know a bar owner in DC who has even said that his business in his 14th Street bar has gone UP SIGNIFICANTLY since DC adopted the smoking ban.

Your claims that your business will be hurt are refutable by independently generated FACTS. Banning smoking has absolutely no effect on business. In fact, if you know how to take advantage of it properly, it will likely help business by expanding the pool of people willing to patronize your establishment...I can tell you right now if your restaurant allows smokers chances are good I don't eat there.

Posted by: DouginMountVernon | February 6, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Smoking is the number one health hazard. It takes 10 years off your life.

Posted by: robinfickerofrobinrealty | February 6, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad to see that VA is going forward with their no smoking polices. I live here now, I am from Maine(which has had no smoking in many public places for years) and was stunned the 1st time I entered a restaurant and asked smoking or non. What good does it do to set across smoking sections by a few feet? Having my breathing issues go away and Doc. bills, since I have not had to be forced to breath second hand smoke is awesome! Go Virginia!

Posted by: talkingfeather7 | February 6, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I live in Florida and none of the restaurants her are allowed to have smoking. They seem to be be plenty busy and it is great to go in and not have to smell like smoke when you come out. My daughter was fired recently from the Cracker Barrel in Manassas because as a waitress who was pregnant and asmatick she asked to be taken out of the smoking section. The manager refused to do so and fired her. Yet, he says she quite and she has not been able to collet any unemployment as a result. As some one who grew up when smoking was everywhere I am so glad it is restricted now. No longer do my closes and hair stink from other peoples smoke and my lungs are better, too.
If you want to smoke. Go outside,smoke in your car or at home. Let the rest of us breath.

Posted by: amflick | February 6, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Hell no I don't agree with the ban. I've lived in the District, MD, and WV and I'd like one place where I can go, enjoy a drink or two and smoke, other than my own home. What is wrong with you people? Isn't it enough that smokers have to cater to non-smokers in DC and MD? If you don't like the environment GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!

Posted by: wlcm2myworld | February 6, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm thrilled with the announcement to go smoke free in VA. I hated going out to eat or drink or anything with smokers around. My clothes would stink and I would have to shower and wash my clothes immediately when I got home. I have stayed away from restaurants because of smoking. I was in a bowling alley with my son, around noon on a weekday, and a smoker ruined the outing for me. We left. In Ontario, Canada they have the smoking ban in restaurants and bars too. The Canucks have recently passed a law making it illegal, punishable by 250.00 fine, to smoke in a vehicle with a child under the age of 16. The smoking lobby needs to pound sand. Smoking isn't healthy and if we were intended to smoke we would be born breathing fire. Remember that first puff that made you hack up a lung...that was the body's response to a foreign, deadly material. Good for VA! I may start eating out again in July.

Posted by: bumpnroad | February 8, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

If those of you who are smokers took the time to cut apart just one of your cigarettes and looked at it, you'd be amazed to see all of the junk in there that is not tobacco.

You are not even smoking tobacco! You are smoking trash!

Posted by: rb-freedom-for-all | February 9, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

How did we get here. The Country that is the greatest champions democracy. How is it that we live in a time where the people can not recognize the difference between democracy and tyranny.

I am tired of seeing Representatives get away with justifying their support of the smoking ban by pointing to the polls. This is irrelevant. Property owners have rights. Anyone has a right to avoid a restaurant that allows smoking. Or can choose to work in a restaurant that does not allow smoking.

We need a government in Virginia that understands the limitations of government. Their are times in all our lives where we will sometimes stand in the majority and times when we will be in the minority.

There is a time for the will of the people and there is a time for individual rights. As citizens we must understand the difference.

If most the people in your neighborhood covered their lawns with astro-turf, well that would be their right. But if they wanted a law requiring you to kill the lawn you worked so hard on for years and replace it with astro-turf would that be ok because they are the majority.

Do you stand for a law to dictate how these business owners are to run the restaurant they have worked so long and hard to have. The government might as well plan their menus and take over their dept and responsibilities as well.

The market place has greatly limited the choses smoker has for dinning. Is it fair to quash it altogether.
If we don't stand for individual rights, then we will all at some point be targeted.

We must understand that a smoking ban runs contrary to our principals as Americans. I can not stress enough the importance of these principals.

If this law is passed, smokers will continue to smoke and non smokers will continue to have many options for smoke free dinning. The only thing that changes with the ban is that smokers will no longer have the freedom to choose. Doesn't sound much like America to me.

Posted by: Gabedog | February 10, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

I smoked for over 20 years and recently quit. I think that Va. was behind the times and I am very happy that we are finally respecting Virginian's right to breathe clean air when the dine out or visit a bar. If you smoke, be a patriot and take it outside.

Posted by: wwoodinVA | February 10, 2009 5:53 AM | Report abuse

"The best way to take control over a people and control them
utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode
rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible
reductions. In this way the people will not see those rights
and freedoms being removed until past the point at which
these changes cannot be reversed" - Adolf Hitler.

Posted by: Gabedog | February 10, 2009 6:21 AM | Report abuse

We have the right to dine smoke free in most restaurant in Virginia. What is with you people that go out of your yay to find a smoking restaurant and then complain about it. Know one is asking that non smoking restaurant be banned. Maybe they should be. How Sad to feel the need to control every little aspect of others lives. Keep your laws off our restaurant.

Posted by: Gabedog | February 10, 2009 6:28 AM | Report abuse

According to the article, "Amendments would permit smoking in rooms separated by doors, even if there is no separate ventilation system." What good does it do if those doors are left open? I've been in restaurants with separate smoking areas right next to nonsmoking, with the smoke billowing out. If you ask the manager to close the door, you'll be told it can't be closed because of fire codes. On the other hand, I've been in restaurants where smoking was allowed in a central bar area, without walls, but with the ventilation system over the bar, the smoke couldn't be detected in the rest of the place. With these amendments, this "smoking ban" is ineffective.

Posted by: valandsend | February 10, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

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