Smoking Ban Bill Passed by Virginia Senate [02/14/06-1]
Va. Senate Passes Indoor Smoking Ban, Washington Post
Rosalind S. Helderman [02/14/06]
RICHMOND, Feb. 13 -- The Virginia Senate voted Monday to ban smoking in restaurants and virtually all other public places, an extraordinary sign of cultural change in a state that is home to the worldwide headquarters of Philip Morris and whose agricultural economy has been rooted in tobacco farming for almost 400 years.
The chamber narrowly approved the measure after a short but intense debate over consumer choice and the public health risks of secondhand smoke.
"This is not about whether I prefer or do not prefer the smell of smoke," said Sen. J. Brandon Bell II, the sponsor. "This is about public health. . . . The research has come forward over the years, and it's shown us that secondhand cigarette smoke is a very insidious health problem."
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