An exploration of things to do in Arlington

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Should Arlington Ban Smoking in Bars and Restaurants?

From the Washington Post:

After a heated and raucous public meeting, the Alexandria City Council voted unanimously yesterday to use its zoning powers to ban smoking in restaurants, an unusual tactic opponents said would lead to costly lawsuits.

Many states and cities, including Maryland and the District, have banned smoking in public places, but the Virginia legislature severely limits local authority in such issues. Alexandria has opted to use the power it does have -- in this case, control over land-use regulation -- to force restaurant owners to go smoke-free or lose their operating permits. It is the first jurisdiction in Virginia to
take such action.

Should the Arlington County Board take a similar approach to ban smoking here in Arlington? After all, President Bush's own surgeon general has declared, "The debate is over. [Secondhand smoke] causes disease and kills people."

While many Arlington restaurants have gone smoke-free -- the Arlington Civic Federation maintains a great list -- few popular bars are smoke-free. Arlington's most popular happy hour spots -- Rock Bottom, Carpool, Whitlow's, Front Page, Dr. Dremo's, Mister Days -- all allow smoking.

Should Arlington use its zoning powers to ban smoking in bars and restaurants, even at the risk of a lawsuit?

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Anonymous Jon said...

This is a great move by Arlington. But the VA legislature need to step up...finally, and pass a state-winde law.

The WHO just reported that 1 BILLION people across the globe will die from smoking this century.

With DC and most of suburban MD smoke-free, it's time for Virginia to do the same.

4:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a no-brainer...Arlington likes to think of itself as a progressive community. Smoking (including second-hand)causes cancer that kills people. For the sake of non-smoking patrons, not to mention the restaurant/bar staff, smoking should be banned in all bars and restaurants in Arlington. Why is this even a matter for debate?

3:53 AM


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