Southern state passes partial smoking ban

By Maura O’Keefe U-WIRE

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia Senate passed a bill which, if successful in the House of Delegates, would amend the current state Clean Air Act by prohibiting smoking in many indoor public places.

According to Courtney Hyres, legislative aid to Sen. Brandon Bell, R-Roanoke County, a chief proponent of the bill, the new legislation would significantly change the current policy since smoking in buildings is currently at the discretion of business owners.

“It’s banned in certain places but not across the board,” she said. “This bill would ban smoking in most public spaces, including restaurants and bars. Now, there are some exceptions.”

Bell supports the bill because it protects Virginia residents’ health, Hyres said.

“[Bell] had become convinced that the evidence of the harms of second-hand smoke on the public health had become so compelling that it was time Virginia took steps to protect its citizens,” she said.