Pat Edmonson, Democrat running for Lieutenant Governor, issued a statement opposing the ban on smoking in restaurants.
“The smoking ban is simply not necessary, and I believe it is wrong to legislate smoking out of restaurants and bars for public health reasons while ignoring the significant public health risks presented by the consumption of alcohol.”
I think that makes her the only statewide Democratic candidate to side with the RPV Executive Board in opposing the ban.
Read her whole statement here
“Sometimes very well intentioned people attempt to put their good intentions into law. Usually this is a good thing, as laws that protect us and help create opportunity and prosperity are valuable. From time to time, however, good intentions can turn into something else. The smoking ban is simply not necessary, and I believe it is wrong to legislate smoking out of restaurants and bars for public health reasons while ignoring the significant public health risks presented by the consumption of alcohol.”
“The fact is that many restaurants in Virginia are already non-smoking, having adjusted their regulations in order to grow their businesses. Restaurants certainly have that right, and people who feel passionately about non smoking restaurants should frequent those facilities. I am happy that more and more restaurants are turning to non smoking policies. I do not believe, however, that the Commonwealth should pass laws that force restaurant owners’ hands on this question. If we do this for health reasons, then we are morally compelled to go after alcohol as well. The CDC has estimated that smoking caused an average of 12 years of lost life per user. Alcohol is estimated to cause an average of 30 years of lost life per user. We also must recognize that drunk driving deaths often affect others not associated with drinking. Therefore, the move to ban smoking represents a dangerous infringement on the civil liberties of Virginians, one that could lead to further erosion of the civil rights of adults. I think we can trust business owners to make decisions that best suit their clients, and I think we can trust ourselves to make decisions that are right for us and our children. If something is legal, and a restaurant owner wants to allow it, then so be it. ”
“I would strongly support tax credits for restaurants to build closed off, well ventilated smoking areas. I would also support legislation that protected workers from being forced to work in smoking areas. I simply do not believe the government should take a further step to prohibit otherwise legal activity.”