Thursday, February 5, 2009

smoking ban my pass in virginia home of big tobacco of all places

i must say i was truly surprised to hear that a smoking ban in restaurants made it out of subcomittee here in viriginia. regardless of whether i smoke or not, virginia is still home of big tobacco having the largest manufacturing plant of tobacco remaining in the united states still in the capital, richmond. tobacco lobby has always been a powerful lobby in this state and usually been able to quash any smoking bans. tobacco is still a huge part of our economy. 2008 was the first year since the 1600s that another product surprisingly tomatoes was a larger export from virginia than tobacco. even more shocking to me is that only 23 other states have bans on smoking in restaurants and bars. while smoking ban bills have come through the state legislature before, none have made it out of senate subcomittee. this bill with bipartisan support of the democrat governor tim kaine and republicans including speaker of the house bill howell seems likely to pass. i never thought i would see this day.
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