Smoking; prohibited in restaurants, penalty. (HB2422)

Introduced By

Del. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Restaurants; smoking prohibited; penalties. Prohibits smoking in restaurants in the Commonwealth unless a restaurant posts signs stating "Smoking Permitted" conspicuous to ordinary public view at each public entrance. Any person who continues to smoke in any prohibited area after having been asked to refrain from smoking shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $250 for the first offense, and $500 for a second offense; any subsequent offense shall be punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor. Any proprietor of any restaurant who fails to comply with these restrictions shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $500 for the first offense and $1000 for a second offense; any subsequent offense shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Read the Bill »

Status

04/10/2007: vetoed by governor

History

DateAction
01/09/2007Committee
01/09/2007Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/10/07 075132308
01/09/2007Referred to Committee on General Laws
01/12/2007Assigned GL sub: #3 ABC/Gaming (Gear)
01/16/2007Impact statement from DPB (HB2422)
01/31/2007Read first time
02/01/2007Read second time
02/01/2007Pending question ordered
02/01/2007Engrossed by House
02/02/2007Read third time and passed House (74-Y 22-N)
02/02/2007Communicated to Senate
02/05/2007Constitutional reading dispensed
02/05/2007Referred to Committee on Education and Health
02/15/2007Reported from Education and Health with amendment (11-Y 3-N 1-A) (see vote tally)
02/16/2007Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 0-N)
02/16/2007VOTE: (39-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/19/2007Passed by for the day
02/20/2007Read third time
02/20/2007Passed by for the day
02/21/2007Read third time
02/21/2007Passed by for the day
02/22/2007Read third time
02/22/2007Reading of amendment waived
02/22/2007Committee amendment rejected
02/22/2007Amendments by Senator Bell withdrawn
02/22/2007Passed Senate (23-Y 17-N)
02/22/2007VOTE: (23-Y 17-N) (see vote tally)
03/12/2007Enrolled
03/12/2007Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB2422ER)
03/12/2007Signed by President
03/13/2007Signed by Speaker
03/19/2007Impact statement from DPB (HB2422ER)
03/26/2007Governor's recommendation received by House
04/03/2007Placed on Calendar
04/04/2007Pending question ordered
04/04/2007House rejected Governor's recommendation (40-Y 59-N)
04/04/2007VOTE: ADOPTION (40-Y 59-N) (see vote tally)
04/04/2007Communicated to Governor
04/10/2007G Vetoed by Governor

Comments

James writes:

Seriously they need to stop forcing these kinds of laws on us. If they want to do something why don't they just give some kind of tax break to restaurants and bars. Leave it up to the business owners to decide on their own. They should be the only ones making these decisions.

Kristine writes:

The bill should stand as it was before Kaine amended it to ban all smoking in restaurants. I can understand that no one likes to smell smoke while eating, but it should be allowed in bar areas where the primary purpose is to drink, socialize, and smoke. The proprieters should be allowed to determine how large the smoking area of their establishment should be based on their clientel. It's anti-democratic to take away that option. They WILL lose customers and money. The reality is that drinking alcohol prompts smoking (even those who regularly don't smoke), and patrons will not stay if they can't smoke. If they are going to ban smoking, they should also allow restaurants to provide a safe outdoor area where patrons can smoke and drink, since most restaurants won't let you take your drink outside.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

The reality is that drinking alcohol prompts smoking (even those who regularly don't smoke)

Say what? You're telling me that non-smokers can take up smoking through the mere act of consuming alcohol? Can you cite any studies that demonstrate that metabolizing liquor leads to a strong desire to light a particular plant on fire and inhale it?

More on topic, I'm hoping that a full ban will pass so that the restaurant industry will push to create a legal classification for a bar. Virginia has no bars, only restaurants that happen to serve alcohol, making it impossible to ban smoking in restaurants other than bars. So let's ban smoking, get bar owners all pissed off, and then use that energy to pass legislation creating bars.

Lucy writes:

I can't cite any studies that demonstrate that liquor leads to smoking but I can personally name at least 3 people that only smoke when they drink... And many more who only dance when they drink. It's not so uncommon for folks to practice different behaviors when drinking alcoholic beverages ;-)

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Jazz leads to pregnancy?

;)

Lucy writes:

Yes, Jazz could lead to pregnancy... Depends on how good the saxaphone player is!

Erick writes:

Drinking doesn't lead to smoking in any sort of "scientific" way... Kristine is referring to "social smokers", which is simply a cultural thing.

Anyway, in every city that has done this there is always a lot of reluctance at first, but the end results are certainly nice... being able to go out to dinner without having being emersed in a cloud of smoke. For some of us, like myself, it goes far beyond the unpleasantries of having to smell someones cigarette. I've suffered from asthma and allergies all my life, and smokey bars and restaurants cause me to become congested at best, and cause breathing problems at worse. It's just something I've had to deal with all my life.

I understand the libertarian/freedom argument, believe me, because I'm all for keeping the government at arms length. The issue with smoking is it impacts the people around the smoker. An analogy might be... consider if you had to drink a 1/4 a shot of whiskey every time the guy next to you had a drink.

I'm all for smokers sitting on their front porches and lighting up, or on a city street (where the smoke gets dispersed, or I can at least walk away). Smoke all you want. In fact, there are plenty of things that are illegal now that I'd have no problem with people doing at home. If it doesn't effect me, I don't care what you do.

But smoking is NOT harmless, and it DOES effect others.

Dave Willis writes:

I am a smoker and I own a bar. 90 % of my customers smoke. Now this bar is a neighborhood bar, that sells just enough food to meet the ABC requirements for a beer bar which I pay for a license to do so and I also pay the required taxes to the city and state. Now my question is what classifies a restuarant? Are you guilty because the ABC requires you to sell food to sell alcohol? Does the size of your establishment have any bearibg? Would a 1200 sq ft area with 14 bar stools at a bar, 6 tables on the floor with 4 chairs each, 2 pool tables, 2 darty machines, a jukebox and a toy machine constitute a restuarant? These are some of the items that need to be looked at instead of a blanket law and a blanket classification of all bars JUST because they have to serve food to meet one of the many other state requirements. Additionally are there any "GRANDFATHER" options? My bar has been around for over 50 years, doesn't that give you something? Let's be open minded here and open our thoughts to all the factors and variables for this ban.

Susan writes:

I used to smoke heavily and now spend a lot of time in NYC, where you can't smoke in any public indoor space, and I quit. I found that if nobody else was smoking, I didn't think about it as much, and soon I didn't think about it at all. And now when I'm home, I don't want to go out. I don't want to spend any time socializing or drinking with MY friends because you guys are still smoking and it grosses me out. I can't believe how inconsiderate I was to people around me by smoking in an enclosed space. Yes, it's convenient when you smoke to just be able to light up wherever you are, but if you just can't do it, you're more likely to quit, giving everybody else a better time.

And to the owner of the establishment that complains that 90% of his customers smoke and he'll be left with no business - it's not like they'll be able to go somewhere else and smoke. Your place will still be on the same footing as everywhere else. Now you just might get some patronage from the rest of us. Maybe the reason that 90% of your customers smoke is that non-smokers don't want to be in your bar. Why doesn't anybody else think of this?

James writes:

All of the people that say it's great to be able to go out to dinner and not have to smell smoke, hey that's wonderful. Great, power to you. Why do you go to the restaurants that allow smoking? There are plenty of restaurants that don't allow smoking. Why aren't you going to those places to begin with? It's like walking into a cigar shop where you know they'll be smoking and then complaining about it.

If it's really that big of an issue to you but you continue to give your business to these restaurants that allow smoking you aren't very bright.

Lucy Jones writes:

I have to agree with James. I don't go to sit-down restaurants that DON'T allow smoking nor would I go to a pub/bar that doesn't allow smoking. If enough people put their money to work by visiting only establishments that share their smoking preference, owners would be able to make a clear decision on this matter without government intervention.

I also don't buy that Governor Kaine is doing this "for the employees". Can't they also work where smoking is not allowed if it bothers them?

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Can't they also work where smoking is not allowed if it bothers them?

Please understand, though, that decades of court rulings argue otherwise on this. That's why smoking isn't allowed on airplanes; it's not for the comfort of fellow passengers, but because of successful lawsuits brought about by flight attendants who argued, fairly enough, that it's unreasonable for their employer to allow people to burn toxins and carcinogens within their workplace. Your logic -- don't work at places that aren't safe and keep the government out of it -- flies in the face of a century of workplace safety improvements brought about because the market was unable to provide safe workplaces. No longer do thousands die in our mines, factories, and farms each year under the logic that, if they don't like it, they can just go work someplace else. Thank God that we, as a nation, have moved beyond that terrible approach.

Cynthia writes:

Perhaps James and Lucy live in a place better-suited for non-smokers than where I live, but in my area, there are VERY few non-smoking restaurants. In addition, I, like Erick, have actual allergies to the smoke, so having to be around it is more than simply unpleasant. Besides, all evidence points to either no change or a positive change in the restaurants' success, so really, where's the harm? If you want to smoke in your own house or car, have at it. When arguing to keep smoking sections in restaurants though, consider a peeing section in a swimming pool. Same concept...and urine won't even kill you, though you'd still complain because it affects you and everyone else in the pool against your will.

But please, whatever you do, do not try to insult the intelligence of those of us who frequent restaurants with smoking sections and complain about it. I mean, have you heard the latest stats on deaths from smoking? Yeah, turns out you guys may not be so bright yourselves.

Lucy Jones writes:

I'm certainly not trying to insult anyone's intelligence.

Tell me, what is so wrong with having a smoking section outside of the restaurant? I certainly don't mind sitting on a beautiful terrace. Some restaurants even have a nice outdoor area for cooler weather. Why can't restaurants make these choices? Maybe they want to have indoor smoking and outdoor non-smoking...

And how is the whole safe workplace issue going to work for you when the holier than thou decide liquor is too dangerous to allow in restaurants? or maybe the frying of any food? or maybe people with sniffles? I could make the same complaints as you do. How many people are killed every year as a by-product of alcohol? How many lives are ruined? How many elderly people get sick and die because parents bring their sick kids to restaurants?

My whole point is where does this stop? What will the next target be? Smoking is LEGAL! Everyone has a gripe and everyone can prove that their pet peeve is hurting someone. Do we really need to have government act as the social police? Surely were not too stupid to work things out without creating a law for everyone's gripe of the day.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

And how is the whole safe workplace issue going to work for you when the holier than thou decide liquor is too dangerous to allow in restaurants?

When second-hand drinking starts to kill people. Until such time as merely being in the presence of alcohol can cause intoxication, I don't think you have anything to worry about.

Public drunkenness is, of course, illegal, in part to address the very concern about patrons drinking to excess and creating an unsafe workplace for employees.

How many elderly people get sick and die because parents bring their sick kids to restaurants?

In fact, quarantines are routinely put into place in the case of serious illnesses. Virginia has developed a plan to put into place in case of a flu epidemic that would do just that.

Cynthia writes:

I hate to be trite but 1200 people a day die due to smoking. When "second-hand intoxication" or perhaps even sick children start killing that many people, maybe then will those things be banned too.

And having an outdoor section for either smokers or non-smokers is a perfectly fine idea if we lived in California or something. Not every day is a beautiful day here though. I guess in the middle of the winter the non-smokers just won't be able to go out to eat since their section is outside?

Lucy Jones writes:

Waldo,

It's not that sitting next to someone can cause you to become drunk. The ill affects of "Second-hand drinking" that I refer to are all the innocents that are killed each year due to drunk drivers, all the wives and children that are battered by a drunk husband (or by drunk wives).

How many of these incidents have to take place before the Government decides to step in and come up with some sort of bizarre regulation on drinking?

How many car accidents will happen before the government decides to outlaw them?

I understand that second-hand smoke is harmful to others. I, along with most other smokers, am more than willing to smoke outside away from non-smokers or in places only designated for smokers. Why do you feel the need to support legislation that bars restaurants from having outdoor smoking or posting signs that state "We Smoke"?

It seems to me the smokers are the only ones willing to compromise...

Waldo Jaquith writes:

The ill affects of "Second-hand drinking" that I refer to are all the innocents that are killed each year due to drunk drivers, all the wives and children that are battered by a drunk husband (or by drunk wives).

How many of these incidents have to take place before the Government decides to step in and come up with some sort of bizarre regulation on drinking?

The government has done so. It's illegal to drive, even if you have a pretty tiny amount of alcohol in your system. It's also illegal to beat people to death, alcohol or no.

I, along with most other smokers, am more than willing to smoke outside away from non-smokers or in places only designated for smokers.

And I, as a peace offering, agree that I will only burn small piles of asbestos in one particular corner of those restaurants that I patronize. Sounds like we've got a deal.

Erick writes:

ATTN Dave Willis and other proprietors:

I understand that drinking and smoking is a time honored passtime and ritual. Just a couple of things to keep in mind though... If smoking were flat out banned, that makes it an even playing field out there. In places where this has happened, people didn't just stop going out, they learned to adapt. They drink on the premises, and they go outside to the sidewalk to have a cig.

From my personal perspective, this would obviously be preferrable. If this is asking too much though, I would at least appreciate a warning sign out front. That way, if I'm not in the mood to deal with it, I can simply avoid establishments that permit smoking. I do this right now as it is, by trial and error, but a sign would just make it easier. Sometimes I throw caution to the wind and visit smokey places anyway, and just give in the idea that I'll be congested and have to take a shower when I get home.

At least with a sign I'd know what I'm getting into. I just feel like it is a health hazard, and people have the right to be warned. Also, with any luck, maybe a few places will actually have the nerve to TRY a non-smoking environment.

Lucy Jones writes:

Waldo,

Asbestos is illegal don't patronize me.

We'll have to agree to disagree here I think. There's obviously no compromise that would satisfy you even if we smokers agree to smoke outside where you wouldn't be bothered.

I only hope that when the social police come after something LEGAL that you enjoy, you will give up your rights just as happily...

Lucy Jones writes:

Cynthia,

I forgot to ask. Where did you get your figure that 1200 people die from second-hand smoke every day and did the facts come from a study that only included humans not also exposed to other carcinogens such as pollution?

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Asbestos is illegal don't patronize me.

No it's not. Asbestos is perfectly legal. It's present in millions of structures throughout the nation, and continues to be widely used in manufacturing roofing and asphalt, among other things. There have been many, many lawsuits over asbestos, with civil courts routinely ruling that it's a dangerous substance to be exposed to. Kind of like, y'know, cigarettes.

Given that asbestos is legal, you'll support my burning it in restaurants, won't you, Lucy?

MS writes:

Just read Griffith might kill the bill rather than having it go to a vote. Can he still do that as chief patron?

Lucy Jones writes:

I don't believe burning asbestos in public is legal, Waldo. In fact, I don't believe you can burn anything in public places except, y'know, cigarettes, candles and the like. Oh, and big companies can burn things that pollute the air for everyone... In a BIG way.

But if it is legal to burn asbestos in public places and you would like to smoke it and you want to burn it in a place where I'm not subject to it, go right ahead. I'd even go for a sign that says "Asbestos Smoking Allowed Here" on the door. Then I'd know you were there smoking your asbestos and I'd avoid that place like the plague.

Like I said, I'm perfectly willing to smoke AWAY FROM YOU.

See how easy it is to compromise?

Waldo Jaquith writes:

But if it is legal to burn asbestos in public places and you would like to smoke it and you want to burn it in a place where I'm not subject to it, go right ahead.

So you agree that it should be legal for me to do so? You wouldn't support a law, as you assumed existed, that would bar me from burning small packets of asbestos in, say, cigarette form?

What about uranium? Could I smoke uranium?

Lucy Jones writes:

Waldo, don't be rude. Having rights taken away is a serious matter to me.

Both are restricted hazardous materials. No one agrees that it should be legal. I pretty clearly stated "I don't believe burning asbestos in public is legal". It's right up there ^

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Now hold up there, Lucy. Saying that it shouldn't be allowed because it's "restricted hazardous material" is meaningless; we're attempting to define what should be legally restricted based on their practical effects. You're saying that smoking uranium should be illegal because it's illegal. That's meaningless within the context of this discussion.

If you are allowed to smoke cigarettes in restaurants (a known deadly substance, killing many thousands of people every year), why can't I smoke uranium in restaurants? How are they different?

Lucy Jones writes:

Well, then I guess that makes all of your prior statements meaningless as well sir:


Public drunkenness is, of course, illegal, in part to address the very concern about patrons drinking to excess and creating an unsafe workplace for employees.

In fact, quarantines are routinely put into place in the case of serious illnesses. Virginia has developed a plan to put into place in case of a flu epidemic that would do just that.

The government has done so. It's illegal to drive, even if you have a pretty tiny amount of alcohol in your system. It's also illegal to beat people to death, alcohol or no.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

On the contrary, Lucy -- I was addressing your concerns that certain acts might become illegal by explaining that they're already illegal.

But you're avoiding answering the question, Lucy. I'll repeat it: If you are allowed to smoke cigarettes in restaurants (a known deadly substance, killing many thousands of people every year), why can't I smoke uranium in restaurants? How are they different?

Lucy Jones writes:

Well Waldo, we should probably begin at the root of the discussion. Just how dangerous is environmental tobacco smoke compared to exposure to uranium smoke?

According to several studies many believe there is NO SIGNIFICANT relationship between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco-related deaths. There are many scientists who believe the facts used by zealots who push the "Second-Hand Smoke Alarm" are based on junk science at its best.

So, where are you getting your statistics that the second-hand smoke you may be exposed to if I'm smoking OUTISDE of the restaurant will cause you any more health risks than driving to the restaurant?

I’ll forego the discussion on asthma-related conditions. Yes, we all agree that smoke of any kind, including people burning leaves, agitates certain medical conditions like asthma, but does second-hand smoke cause any more?

Now for whatever study you base your phobia on:
Did they test humans?
Did they test humans that were ONLY exposed to smoke in occasional visits to restaurants?
Did they test humans that were pristine in every other way? (Not obese, no history of any diseases in their family, and the clencher... NO EXPOSURE TO ANY OTHER TOXINS)

Impossible, I say.

Many of the current studies, including the American Cancer Society, the WHO, and others include test results from people who live with a smoker, are obese, have high cholesterol, work in toxin-producing factories, have a family history of cancers and other diseases, etc. Some of the studies even include people who died because they were involved in car accidents simply because the driver of the offending car was smoking at the time of the accident. Not because they dropped their cigarettes and caused a wreck.. No, some of these people were drunk. So, why were these people included? Many studies include widows of smokers who died “early”. The part they forget to point out is that this has nothing to do with second-hand smoking in restaurants and secondly, widows tend to die at an earlier age regardless of whether their spouse was a smoker or not. In fact, many studies consider “an early age” as anything under 75! I don’t know about you but If I die at 74, I won’t consider my demise early.

Now, for uranium… Where are your statistics relating to the effects of second-hand smoke from public uranium smoking? I can’t really find anything showing the dangers of smoking uranium or being around someone who smokes uranium. While tobacco is safe in it’s unsmoked form, uranium is not. That’s about all the resemblances I can find.

What I find really interesting though is that many of the deaths that had been attributed to smoking may have been from uranium!!!

Since we’re all exposed to uranium every day even if we don’t allow smoking in restaurants, I'd bet the likelihood is even better that Uranium is the real culprit!!!

http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/uranium.htm

“A person can be exposed to uranium by inhaling dust in air, or ingesting water and food. The general population is exposed to uranium primarily through food and water. The average daily intake of uranium from food ranges from 0.07 to 1.1 micrograms per day. The amount of uranium in air is usually very small. People who live near federal government facilities that made or tested nuclear weapons, or facilities that mine or process uranium ore or enrich uranium for reactor fuel, may have increased exposure to uranium.”

Thanks for the tip, Waldo!!

Lucy Jones writes:

04/04/07 House: House rejected Governor's recommendation (40-Y 59-N)

Tim Watson writes:

I am glad to see the House vote turn out the way it did. For so many reasons, this would have been wrong. Not only was Governor Kaine's action legislatively dangerous, it is unnecessary given recent trends. His actions bypass the review, discussion, and debate necessary for such changes. Also, consumers currently have a choice of where to eat and where to work. The current system is working as there are more and more establishments going "smoke free". The government's interference in this process is unnecessary and unprecedented. I am worried about what the next thing the government will ban and what means they will take to do it. Not only would these change have affected restaurants, they would have affected private clubs as well.

No thanks to Delegate Al Eisenberg (D) for this great success.