Monday, January 12, 2009

Creigh Deeds Supports Ban on Smoking in Restaurants

With the tobacco lobby being powerful here in Virginia it seems like there is always a lot of discussion about some sort of legislation relating to tobacco. During the last two sessions of the General Assembly the debate has been over a potential ban of smoking in public restaurants and it looks like the idea has now reached the gubernatorial campaign. Creigh Deeds recently issued this statement which stating that he believes Gov. Kaine made the correct move by pushing for the ban.
"Governor Kaine is right to push for an end to smoking tobacco in Virginia restaurants and I will be supporting passage of his legislation in the Senate.

"The scientific evidence is clear: secondhand smoke has a significant and devastating effect on the health of non-smokers. The evidence in restaurants is particularly compelling. The level of secondhand smoke exposure for non-smokers is at least twice as high in restaurants as it is in homes and offices with smokers. Food service workers have a 50 percent higher chance of dying of lung cancer, due in part to secondhand smoke exposure."

"In the face of such clear and compelling evidence, we must act to address this significant threat to public health. I urge my colleagues, in both parties and in both houses of the legislature, to join me in supporting this important legislation."

Senator Deeds has supported efforts to ban smoking in restaurants in previous years. In 2007, he voted for the Virginia Smoke Free Air Act, Senate Bill 1161 (Bell), and last year supported the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act, Senate Bill 501 (Locke/Northam).
While Creigh's support of the ban is noteworthy, I believe it's more important to notice that by supporting this bill he is stepping out against one of strongest set of lobbyists in the Commonwealth of Virginia. With that being said, I'd really like to see our elected officials propose legislation that would address the reasons people decide to start smoking. If people never start smoking, after all, we wouldn't need to worry about putting forward a ban on smoking in restaurants AND there could be thousands, if not millions, of people who also live longer and healthier lives.

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