Virginia restaurants prepare for new smoking law

AP News
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Posted: Nov 30, 2009 11:46 AM

Restaurants all across Virginia are preparing for new smoking regulations.

Beginning Tuesday, restaurants will be allowed to have a smoking area only if they segregate smokers into rooms with separate ventilation systems.

The law also allows smoking on outdoor patios and in private membership clubs.

Violators face a $25 fine as do restaurant owners who don't enforce the restrictions.

The new rules represents a huge shift for a state whose tobacco habit dates to the Jamestown settlement some 400 years ago.

For most of its history, tobacco was Virginia's premier crop and economic staple.