Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”     Thomas Jefferson

March 26, 2007

Virginia Governor Proposes Smoking Ban

by Doug Mataconis

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine wants to make it illegal to smoke in restaurants in the Commonwealth of Virginia:

RICHMOND, March 26 — Smoking would be banned in Virginia restaurants under a proposal announced Monday by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D).

Kaine said he will ask lawmakers to enact the smoking ban when they return to Richmond next week for a day.

(…)

Kaine’s proposed amendment to anti-smoking legislation could have national implications. In other states, anti-smoking advocates have had more difficulty approving a smoking ban in restaurants than in workplaces and public places. By proposing a restaurant-only ban, the governor is likely to create additional pressure in other states to do the same, advocates said.

The original bill, which Virginia law gives the Governor the right to propose amendments to which the Assembly then votes on, was not perfect but at least allowed restaurant owners the option of allowing smoking in their establishments:

The original bill, sponsored by House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem), would have allowed restaurants to permit smoking so long as they posted a sign near the entrance explicitly stating that smoking is allowed.

Kaine’s comment on the original bill is almost nonsensical:

“I appreciate the patron’s intent with this legislation, but felt amendments were necessary,” Kaine said. “I remain opposed to a widespread, general ban on smoking in public. This bill, with my amendment, is narrowly targeted to prevent smoking in restaurants, which is an important step to protect the health of both patrons and employees.”

Governor, you do realize that a widespread, general ban on smoking in restaurants is exactly what you’re proposing, don’t you ?

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5 Comments

  1. One of the better essays on the subject I’ve read: http://www.theology.edu/journal/volume2/ushistor.htm

    Also interesting: http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/churchstate/index.shtml

    Comment by js290 — March 26, 2007 @ 4:17 pm
  2. I am a former smoker who was fortunate enough to quit 15 years ago, BUT, I still can not believe that any government that subsidises, and profits from, tobacco has any credibility. I live in New York State where many public facilities, and restaurants/bars are off limit to smoking. If I were bothered by smoke in a restaurant, I probably would stay away and if enough customers did the same, the owner might change, or he might not…his/her option.. not the governments.

    Comment by ron stratton — March 27, 2007 @ 3:12 pm
  3. Simply, I am opposed to the state mandating a ban on smoking, which in my feeling impedes personal freedoms.

    The issue as presented by the governor, reflects concern for employees or patrons and exposure to second hand smoke. The issue can be addressed by the facility owner, by adding a air purification device to his mechancial systems. Such products are readily available to the marketplace and gladly provided by any mechancial contractor.

    There is an existing standard for commercial structures addressing outdoor air ventilation and indoor air quality, namely Ashrae Standard 62.1, which you can Google and find a variety of information thereon.

    Arguably, many commercial business are not properly balanced for ventilation requirements. Reason being, these requirements are based on the application fo the business and expected occupancy. Many owners will not pay the amount required to condition the mixed air condition created by these indoor and outdoor air combinations. Remember that building code is the “minimum acceptable standard for construction”. Ashreae 62.1 is potentially the predominant standard for ventilation and indoor air quality.

    Within 62.1, addendum B, there is a credit for reducing outdoor air, as based on purifying and recirculating air to the space. Again, there are a variety of products available to the marketplace, which can address particle arrestance to 0.3 microns in size, which would include smoke particles. If we reduce the amount of outdoor air required, then the mechancial system’s capacity can be reduced and/or operate less, which will save energy and operation costs to teh owner of the structure.

    Conceivably, in the same manner that the federal government passed the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act, which stated that systems using single-phase power and with a capacity of less than 65,000 btu’s performance (5 tons)should be a minimum of 13 seer (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), then so should a standard be possible to require use of some air cleaning device to improve air quality within the space. Such a concept should be no different than balancing air flow between their cooking exhaust and make-up air.

    Local government should at a minimum consult the knowledgeable industries, before attempting to legislate change therein.

    Respectfully,

    Michael

    Comment by Michael Vocke — March 29, 2007 @ 9:38 am
  4. If you don’t like it, then QUIT SMOKING. I smoked for 16 years and wholeheartedly support a ban on smoking indoors in restaurants and bars.

    Quit for a week. You’ll realize how disgusting smoking was to begin with. I can’t go to a restaurant now without coming home and taking a shower- the smoke smell permeates your hair, your clothes, and even lingers on your skin.

    The argument for infringing upon your personal liberties holds no water. YOUR personal liberties do not override MINE. And, your “liberties” just happen to kill.

    Comment by Wayne — April 1, 2007 @ 9:21 pm
  5. Wayne,

    First, I am a non-smoker. Tried it… did not enjoy it. But I am fine with second hand smoke. I am fine with people smoking in restraunts. If it bothers me, I can always go somewhere else.

    As for your assertion of how disgusting it is, I have found that ex-smokers are often more revolted by smoke than people who have never smoked. It’s only natural that it is so.

    If you are worried about the teeny tiny effect second hand smoke may do to you, I suggest you look towards banning cars. By what I have read, they do far more dammage than a coffin nail will ever do.

    I was once told by my doctor that driving for a few hours on the highway, with your window down, exposes you to more danger than two packs of cigarettes a day.

    Following is a quote from David W. Kuneman, Director of Research for the smokers club. I admit his view is biased being a smoker, but he does provide some evidence.

    “None of the studies claiming secondhand smoke causes these diseases in hospitality workers controlled for exposure to highway pollution…and secondhand smoke researchers can’t conclude the secondhand smoke caused the elevated disease rates in these workers unless they subtract the risk of working near a busy road” , according to Kuneman ” If they do subtract the risk of working near a busy road, from the overall risk they have found, they get zero” Kuneman concluded.

    Some of the evidence:
    American Journal of Epidemiology. 164(12):1190-1198, December 15, 2006

    Also:
    http://www.ehponline.org/members/2003/6334/6334.html

    Also, the National Library of Medicine provides the Directors commentary on another study published in the Lancet
    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/podcast/transcript030907.html

    Comment by Ted — April 1, 2007 @ 11:49 pm

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