The Virginia state government recently has been considering, for the umpteenth time, a public smoking ban that has become the norm in Northeastern states in recent years. Gov. Tim Kaine has wanted a ban, but this has not been so easy, considering the heavy influence tobacco companies and lobbyists wield in America's favorite tobacco colony.
Impossibly enough, they've reached a deal. Would George Washington and Thomas Jefferson approve?
Kaine and House Speaker William Howell reached a deal last night on a fairly comprehensive ban, which would only permit smoking in "private clubs," although "public establishments [could] also construct enclosed, ventilated smoking rooms for patrons." One might call these "Smelly Rooms."
The Washington Post dubs this a "monumental decision in a state built on the profits of cigarette sales that remains the home to the nation's largest tobacco company," referring to Philip Morris. Nevertheless, the hippies are not satisfied:
But Teresa T. Gregson, a lobbyist for the American Heart Association, said her organization is "not happy" about the compromise.
Gregson said the bill as drafted does not clearly state what constitutes an enclosed room. Gregson said the bill also lacks stringent penalties for patrons or establishments that violate it.
An enclosed room would be one with, say, four walls? A ceiling, and a floor? Well, maybe they can spruce that language up.
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Or people could just walk outside to smoke their cigarettes.
Jim Newell writes about cash-crop farming for Wonkette and IvyGate.