Virginia smoking ban law - takes effect December 1, 2009..

March 10, 2009 - Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today (Monday, March 9, 2009) formally signed into law legislation that will ban smoking in nearly all public restaurants in Virginia. Seated in a Virginia Beach restaurant that has already made the switch to smoke-free dining, Kaine signed Senate Bill 1105 and its companion legislation, House Bill 1703. In 2006, Kaine issued an executive order banning smoking in all state buildings.

The new law exempts private clubs from the ban, in addition to those restaurants that establish physically separate and independently ventilated rooms for smokers. The legislation protects workers by stating that restaurant owners cannot compel employees to work in a smoking area. Proprietors must also provide at least one smoke-free entrance to their establishments.

Statistics compiled by the Virginia Department of Health show that second-hand smoke is responsible for an estimated 1,700 deaths per year.

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Reference: Kaine signs restaurant-bar smoking ban legislation by Jim Nolan, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3/9/2009.