Virginia to Smokers: Take Your Butts Outside

Statewide smoking ban takes effect

By Sharon Donnell
|  Tuesday, Dec 1, 2009  |  Updated 1:16 PM EDT
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Virginia Smoking Ban Goes in to Effect

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The last indoor puff for Virginia smokers.

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Virginia Smoking Ban Goes in to Effect

The new smoking law makes exception for private clubs and restaurants that have separately ventilated rooms.
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With apologies to Bob Dylan, the times, they are a-changing. Effective today, it is illegal to smoke in most Virginia restaurants and bars.

Restaurants will be allowed to offer smoking sections only if they can corral smokers into rooms with separate ventilation systems. The law also allows smoking on outdoor patios and in private membership clubs.

Restaurant patrons who flout the ban face a $25 fine and restaurant owners who look the other way also risk fines.
 
The law was a long time coming to a commonwealth once ruled by tobacco.
 
More than two dozen states already restrict smoking. Surrounding jurisdictions such as Maryland and DC already have bans in place, but Virginia’s taste for tobacco dates back to colonial times. The golden brown leaf was the commonwealth’s chief crop for centuries and the largest Marlboro cigarette factory in the world is located in Richmond.

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