Virginia, home to parts of Big Tobacco, will be going smoke-free tomorrow. This is a landmark law because Virginia is a political and financial stronghold of Big Tobacco, namely Phillip Morris. Starting today, December 1st, Virginia restaurants and bars will be smoke-free. Prior to the enactment of this law, many, nearly 70% of establishments were already smoke-free. There are only a few exemptions to the law which include private clubs, restaurants located on the premise of tobacco manufacturers and restaurants which have structurally separate and adequately ventilated rooms for smoking. Virginia's law covers hookah establishments, cigar bars, and bowling centers. However under the new law bowling centers and bingo halls that prepare and serve food the law applies and compliance options are:
- Go smoke free throughout the entire facility.
- Cease preparation and service of food and the ban would not apply.
- Comply with the law by modifying the structure so the smoking area is structurally separate from the non-smoking areas and vent the smoking area to prevent re-circulation of air from the smoking are into the non-smoking area. There also must be at least one public entrance into the non-smoking area.
While this law, like many laws are far from perfect this is a significant step forward for Virginians. For complete details of the law visit this website.
Congrats to Virginia. Cheers to smoke-free tobacco states!