The State of Virginia has passed legislation banning smoking in many public places. Effective December 1, 2009, smoking will be banned in most restaurants and bars, although it will be permitted in private clubs, on some outdoor patios and in separate ventilated rooms. Civil penalties for violation of the new law will amount to no more than $25.
Virginia will become the first state in the South to ban smoking in both restaurants and bars. Passage of this type of smoking ban was believed to be unlikely in Virginia, where tobacco has historically played an important economic role (Phillip Morris is now headquartered in Virginia and has had ties to the region since colonial time).
According to Gallup, public sentiment is shifting towards these types of bans, and even a majority of smokers think restrictions on smoking in public are justified.