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RAMW Takes Stance on Proposed Virginia Smoking Legislation

January 11, 2009
RAMW Takes Stance on Proposed Virginia Smoking Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC – January 12, 2009 – Before the start of Virginia’s new legislative session, Governor Tim Kaine announced this week his renewed effort to expand limits on cigarette smoking in public places including bars and restaurants.  In response, restaurateurs in the national capital area pledged their support for Kaine’s statewide smoke-free legislation.

“We support the Governor’s call for a statewide law to limit smoking in Virginia’s bars and restaurants,” said Lynne Breaux, president of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW).  “While we are opposed to excessive regulation, carving up the Commonwealth where some counties are smoke-free and others are not would create an unfair scenario for small business owners and citizens alike.”
A number of Virginia legislators both Republican and Democrat are now planning to introduce their own bills that would limit smoking in only certain counties or types of establishments.  RAMW is strongly opposed to the other proposed bills offering piece-meal legislation which would create an unfair advantage for restaurateurs in different counties. 

“If Virginia is going smoke-free, then it should be statewide,” says Claude Andersen, Corporate Operations Manager, Clyde’s Restaurant Group.  If they pass a law that only bans smoking in one county and not another then customers will just take their business “across the street.”  In this economy losing more customers would be devastating. 

RAMW members support Governor Kaine’s legislation to ban smoking in restaurants and bars throughout Virginia. According to RAMW’s board of directors, if the entire Commonwealth implements a smoking ban, the playing field would be level for all.

Established in 1920, the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington has more than 600 members in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. The Association serves as the voice of establishments ranging from casual eateries to internationally-acclaimed fine dining restaurants.