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It’s the Law: Put Your Butts out in Virginia Restaurants

Gale Curcio
By Gale Curcio
Posted on Jan 11,2010
Filed Under Local Politics , Politics,
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Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Governor Timothy M. Kaine stops to meet with Alexandria Chamber representatives Andrew Palmieri, Cathy Puskar and Tina Leone.<br />
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Governor Timothy M. Kaine stops to meet with Alexandria Chamber
representatives Andrew Palmieri, Cathy Puskar and Tina Leone.

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - Del. Dave Englin (D-Alexandria) can hardly believe that the day when smoking is banned in Virginia restaurants has come to pass.

“It’s fantastic,” said Englin, who was the original House sponsor of the legislation. “To think that less than 11 months ago, I filed legislation and now it is happening. It is an amazing thing – lots of hard work. The case was built over time.”

Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Governor Timothy M. Kaine is joined during his announcement by Peter Durkin and Dave Englin.<br />
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Governor Timothy M. Kaine is joined during
his announcement by Peter Durkin and
Dave Englin.

Englin was present at the announcement at Chadwicks Restaurant by Gov. Timothy L. Kaine on Dec. 1.

“This is Day Two for no smoking at Chadwicks,” said Kaine. “They wanted to go no smoking for awhile but worried about the business. This new ban levels the playing field. Plus it’s the law.”

Given the fact that tobacco leaves are embossed in the ceiling of both the House and Senate Chambers, Kaine reminded everybody how ambitious a job it was to get this bill passed.

“Tobacco was the crop that enabled Jamestown to be settled,” said Kaine. “It was Virginia’s largest product.”

Kaine went on to say that as time advanced, so did science and as we became aware of the hazards of second-hand smoking, something had to be done.

“It was a long time coming,” said Kaine. “We had a significant effort in ’07 but fell short; came close in ’08 but fell short and finally compromised in 2009.”

Dr. Linda Hays Mosely elaborated on the dangers of second-hand smoke, citing that the occurrence of second-hand smoke is 2-5 times higher in a restaurant than it is in a residence.

Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Secretary of Health and Human Resources Marilyn Tavenner spoke to the crowd at Chadwicks.<br />
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Secretary of Health and Human Resources
Marilyn Tavenner spoke to the crowd
at Chadwicks.

“People who work in restaurants have double the risk of lung cancer,” said Mosely. “There are 1,700 deaths a year from second-hand smoke in Virginia.”

Peter Durkin, manager of Chadwicks, agreed that the bartenders will welcome the change. The restaurant went smoke free five years ago, but the bar has allowed smoking up until yesterday.

“I wouldn’t want to be breathing it,” said Durkin. However, knowing how many of his customers smoke, Durkin said, I just want smokers to know that they [smokers] are still welcome here,” he said. “There are ashtrays across the street.”

Englin also spoke, saying, “During challenging times, it’s easy for citizens to get cynical about their government, but this is an example of legislators working together in a bipartisan way to accomplish something historic that citizens can be proud of. This puts our restaurants and bars on an equal footing with Maryland and D.C. and will improve quality of life for customers and workers across Virginia.  But, most importantly, this will save lives by reducing the daily exposure of workers and customers to cancer-causing second-hand smoke.”

Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Students from Oakton High School participated in the state-wide survey on smoke-free dining.<br />
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Students from Oakton High School participated
in the state-wide survey on smoke-free dining.

Stephen Carcamo, who works at nearby Union Street Public House, said, “Finally the tobacco state succumbs to the non-smoking ban. All over the U.S., in major cities it's been banned for awhile now. I'm a social smoker and whenever I think about lighting up it's nice to step outside and get fresh air with your bad cigarette. In a nutshell, ‘It’s about time’. Union Street went smoke free September 1, 2008 and has been ever since.”



Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Sen. George Barker and Tim Kaine.<br />
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Sen. George Barker and Tim Kaine.





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