[Virginia GASP]   2008 NORFOLK, Virginia -- Like to breathe? -- Don't come to Norfolk, Virginia until the City Council decides to ban smoking in all restaurants

Norfolk, Virginia -- Excerpts from the media

This page updated September 29, 2008
PLEASE NOTE -- Regarding State Legislative attempts --
  The Excerpts 2008 web page has the continually growing list of articles, editorials, letters to the editor on the defeat of 12 no-smoking bills at the hands of only eight Delegates in the 140 member General Assembly.

ALSO -- Here's a link to a summary of the current Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act, and a review of the 2008 legislative efforts.  Eight Delegates killed all 12 no-smoking bills introduced. 
1.  Speaker of the House -- William Howell -- who assigned the no-smoking bills not to a health committee, but to the General Laws Committee --
2.  led by the Chairwoman he appointed, Terrie Suit, who sent the bills to a subcommittee that had killed the bills for two years running, and she sat in on the meetings on the no-smoking bills.  In late summer, 2008, she announced she is exiting the House and entering the profession, officially, of lobbyist. 
3. -- 8.  The Subcommittee members:  Thomas Gear, David Albo, Thomas Wright, John Cosgrove, Watkins Abbitt, Danny Bowling.
No doubt Morgan Griffith, House Majority Leader helped in all of this. It was his bill that Governor Kaine amended in 2007 from a tobacco bill to a health bill.

List of the
EXCERPTS on Norfolk Virginia's City Council:
Article, The Virginian-Pilot, September 29:  "Norfolk again seeks path to smoke-free dining scene"
Editorial, The Virginian-Pilot, March 30:  "Twisted logic on smoking ban"
The Virginian-Pilot, morning, March 26:  "Norfolk council reverses itself on smoking ban"
The Virginian-Pilot, evening, March 25:  "Norfolk council reverses itself on smoking ban"
The Virginian-Pilot, online for March 25:  "Norfolk council expected to nullify smoking ban"
Letter, The Virginian-Pilot, March 23:  "Ignoring the hazard"
Editorial, The Virginian-Pilot, March 21:  "A cynical retreat on smoking ban"
Letter, The Virginian-Pilot, March 20: 
"Reneging on smoking ban"
The Virginian-Pilot, March 19:  "Norfolk backs off move to end smoking in all restaurants"
Letter, The Virginian-Pilot, March 9:  "Healthy obligation"
The Virginian-Pilot, March 5:  "Norfolk can dispel last myth on smoking"
Editorial, The Virginian-Pilot, February 15:  "No time for Norfolk to give up on smoking ban"
The Virginian-Pilot, February 13:  "Norfolk council not yet ready to approve smoking ban"

Letters to the Editor are given below,
followed by
EXCERPTS from articles and editorials on Norfolk Virginia's City Council:


Letter to the Editor, The Virginian-Pilot, March 23, 2008, headlined, "Ignoring the hazard", writer Sass Scott, Norfolk, VA.
Now that Norfolk City Council is revisiting the smoking ban issue (Hampton Roads front, March 19), it looks as if it's all going up in smoke.

Too bad that the health of non-smokers, 80 percent of the city, will continue to be endangered.  Some argue that this is a freedom issue.  I disagree.  This is clearly a health issue.

One council member suggested that a "Smoking allowed" sign be prominently posted at the door of all establishments that allow smokikng.  But clearly, smokers don't know how to read.  If they did, they would heed the precaution, "Smoking is hazardous to your health."

Letter to the Editor, The Virginian-Pilot, March 20, 2008, headlined, "Reneging on smoking ban", writer, John Hallman.
Here we go again, bowing down to a select few.  For five months, Norfolk has led us to believe that smoking would be banned in restaurants.  Now, with two weeks to go, City Council is backing off (Hampton Roads, March 19).

If Norfolk reneges, I'm taking my business elsewhere.  It sickens me to go into a restaurant and have a cloud of smoke envelope me while I try to enjoy a meal out.

My recommendation for smokers:  Either put your butt out or carry it out.  Your choice.

Letter to the Editor, The Virginian-Pilot, March 9, 2008, headlined, "Healthy obligation", writer, Dave Macklem, Norfolk.
Norfolk Councilman Don Williams' words, "We need to do this for the health of our citizens," inspired the 7-1 vote for the smoking ban.  So, tell us, City Council, what has changed?

Councilman Randy Wright is now worried about a possible lawsuit.  Well, here's a flash for Councilman Wright and the rest of those lackluster wobblers:  Your first obligation as an elected official is to ensure a safe and healthy environment for your citizens.

So why can't our council members get the smoke out of their eyes and stop choking on their hypocrisy?  Should it come to a legal battle, I cannot think of a better battle than one for the good health of its citizens.

WEB EDITOR's Note:  While many nations go completely smoke-free, Norfolk, Virginia is still considering only putting up signs as to whether a restaurant is no-smoking or permits smoking -- The coward's way out.

EXCERPTS from The Virginian-Pilot, September 29, 2008, headlined, "Norfolk again seeks path to smoke-free dining scene", writer Harry Minium.

When the City Council rescinded a ban on smoking in restaurants days before it was to go into effect, members pledged to pursue other ways to discourage smoking.

One idea, proposed by Councilman Don Williams, called for requiring restaurants that allow smoking to buy a license and put up signs saying, "Smoking Allowed."

Williams figured the signs would discourage people who don't like smoking from entering, and four other colleagues agreed. They vowed then to vote on the proposal as soon as possible.

Six months later, there has been no council discussion on the issue.

However, that won't last much longer. Councilwoman Theresa Whibley said she plans to bring up the issue today when the council begins a two-day retreat in Smithfield.

Whibley, who originally pushed and prodded the council to become the state's first to ban smoking, expects little support.

Still, she said she believes that health concerns - especially for restaurant workers exposed to smoke- call for bold action.

Councilwoman Daun S. Hester said she believes all restaurants eventually will be smoke-free.

But until smoking can be banned in the region, she said, she doesn't want to put Norfolk restaurants at a disadvantage, even by charging a fee to allow smoking.

"I would like our restaurants to be smoke-free," she said. "But I'm not sure I want to legislate it."

Neither does Vice Mayor Anthony L. Burfoot.

"Most of the restaurants that are opening are nonsmoking anyway," he said. "This is an issue we should let the state take care of. We've got bigger fish to fry."

Developer Ronnie Boone, who operates three restaurants in Ocean View, opposes any licensing program that would charge fees that might hurt small-restaurant owners.

"This is an issue of freedom of choice," he said.

EXCERPTS from The Virginian-Pilot, March 30, 2008, Editorial, headlined, "Twisted logic on smoking ban", writer not given.
... the Norfolk City Council decided last week to rescind a smoking ban it approved in October.

Instead, the council members are considering a measure that would essentially sell smoking licenses to restaurants at $1,000 a pop.

"Half a loaf is better than nothing," said Councilman Don Williams, who came up with the idea.

It goes without saying that at $1,000, this may be the most expensive half loaf in history; it also goes without saying that charging restaurants to allow smoking may not help their bottom line.

So what's working here?

The impetus behind the strange gyrations in council chambers seems to be - mostly - a kind of fear that banning smoking in city restaurants would hurt business, would drive diners to other cities.

A few restaurant owners have fanned those worries, and more than a few members of City Council have been convinced. Here's the problem: There is no credible evidence that banning smoking hurts restaurants.

There is, in fact, study after study to show that restaurant business improves, or at least doesn't get worse, after a smoking ban, including in communities surrounded by places that permit smoking. Perhaps that's because the 80 percent of the nation that doesn't smoke is now free to have a drink or a meal without worrying about their health, or that their clothes will stink.

For a restaurant's workers, of course, the worries about smoking have always been more than cosmetic, academic, or financial.

"While the number of deaths caused by chronic exposure to secondhand smoke is substantially less than the number caused by active smoking, the public health concern is elevated because secondhand-smoke deaths are occurring among individuals who have decided not to smoke, and thus their increased risk for disease and death is involuntary," said a study published by the Society of Actuaries.

How many people die from second-hand smoke? The actuaries, in 2005, estimated the number at 50,000 a year, undoubtedly many of them workers in restaurants where second-hand smoke is especially heavy, and from which there is little opportunity for escape or respite during an eight-hour shift.

A $1,000 license to smoke will, in effect, ban cigarettes from restaurants that can't afford to pay the bill. For their workers, that's undoubtedly a healthy thing.

But it's awfully hard to argue, from City Hall, that workers in richer restaurants don't deserve the same protection. Or, if you're arguing from behind the bar, that $1,000 is enough to buy permission to allow customers to sicken your employees.

he Virginian-Pilot, March 26, 2008, headlined, "Norfolk council reverses itself on smoking ban". writer, Harry Minium.
The City Council reversed course Tuesday ... In a 5-2 vote, the council rescinded a smoking ban it had passed last fall.

A watered-down substitute ban, fashioned by City Attorney Bernard A. Pishko to better withstand a legal challenge, did not muster enough support to come to a vote.

A ban had been set to go into effect next week . It passed 7-1 in October, with Councilman Paul R. Riddick the only negative vote.

On Tuesday, Councilman Barclay C. Winn said he voted to repeal the ban because the council was advised by Pishko that it likely would not survive a court challenge.

Other council members said they had second thoughts largely because of fears that Norfolk restaurants would lose business to surrounding cities.

Virginia Beach and other Hampton Roads cities asked the General Assembly in its winter session for permission to ban smoking but were denied. Norfolk officials had hoped to ban smoking under its unique city charter.

Winn was joined by Riddick, W. Randy Wright, Don Williams and Vice Mayor Anthony L. Burfoot in voting to repeal the ban. Councilwoman Daun S. Hester was out of town.

Councilwoman Theresa Whibley, who pushed the city to prohibit smoking, and Mayor Paul Fraim voted to uphold the ban.

Whibley wondered what happened in five months to change four votes.

“We are all talking about how the state didn’t have the nerve to pass what our citizens wanted,” she said. “We dropped the ball like they did.”

A council majority voiced support Tuesday for a smoking ordinance proposed by Williams that would ban smoking but leave an escape clause – restaurant owners could pay a $1,000 annual fee and apply for a permit to become exempt from the law.

Under his proposal, restaurants that received a permit would be required to post warning signs at every entrance indicating that smoking is allowed.

“Half a loaf is better than nothing,” Williams said.

“I think it does nothing,” Whibley replied.

After Williams drew support from four other council members, Fraim asked Pishko to compose an ordinance based on Williams’ proposal. It will be considered in April.

Restaurant owners rejoiced over the repeal of the ban, but some worried about the $1,000 fee in Williams’ proposal.

“It would put a serious dent in my budget,” said Dave Willis, who runs the Haven Inn in the Military Circle area.

Ronnie Boone, an Ocean View developer who runs three Norfolk restaurants, said the $1,000 fee won’t necessarily hurt him. But he added: “For the small, family-run restaurants, it could become a hardship.”

Anti-smoking advocates urged the council to stand fast. Lorene E. Alba, a Peninsula resident and an asthma specialist with the American Lung Association, noted that 50,000 Americans die every year from second-hand smoke.

“Norfolk is a destination for people from the Peninsula,” she said. “This will make it more of a destination.”

For every Norfolk resident who goes to a Virginia Beach restaurant to smoke, “you’ll get four or five people from Virginia Beach,” added Hilton Oliver, an anti-smoking advocate from the Beach.

Katie A. Pepe of the American Cancer Society lamented the vote, saying of the council members: “I think they just got scared.”

EXCERPTS from The Virginian-Pilot, March 25, 2008, headlined, "Norfolk council reverses itself on smoking ban", writer Harry Minium.
The City Council reversed itself this afternoon and agreed to rescind an ordinance it passed last fall to ban smoking in restaurants.

During a brief debate at a work session, five of seven council members said they favored repealing the ordinance, which passed 7-1 in October.

The council is slated to formally vote on repealing the ban at 7 p.m.

The smoking ban ... was to go into effect Monday. Council members had second thoughts largely because they worried that Norfolk restaurants would lose business to surrounding cities.

EXCERPTS from The Virginian-Pilot, March 25, 2008, headlined, "Norfolk council expected to nullify smoking ban", writer Harry Minium.
The City Council seems virtually certain today to rescind a smoking ban in restaurants that was set to go into effect March 31.

That ban, which passed 7-1 in October, would have been the state's first.

It also appears doubtful that members will embrace a watered-down substitute ordinance sent to them over the weekend. Drafted by City Attorney Bernard A. Pishko, the ordinance is based on council input during last week's debate about the issue.

It includes exemptions for restaurants with 50 seats or fewer and for those that can prove a ban has hurt business.

Councilman Don Williams also proposed last week an exemption that would ban smoking in all restaurants but allow restaurant owners to apply to permit smoking as long as they post warning signs on their doors.  [Web editor's note -- this is the same as a state bill proposed in 2007 by Del. Morgan Griffith and supported by the tobacco industry.]

The city might as well not have a ban, Councilman Barclay C. Winn said at the time.

Yet today, when the council meets, Williams' proposal appears to have the best chance of passing.

"The more I think about it, the more I like it," said Vice Mayor Anthony L. Burfoot, considered a key swing vote. Councilman W. Randy Wright and even Winn voiced tentative support for William's proposal on Monday.

Burfoot said he will vote against the ordinance drafted by Pishko. ...
"I have a hard time telling a business owner how they're going to feed their families and make their mortgage payment," he said. "I don't smoke. I hate it. But I also understand I have the right to not go into an establishment that allows smoking."

The council will meet at 4 p.m. at City Hall to discuss the issue. It will vote during its formal session at 7 p.m.

Councilwoman Theresa Whibley, who first championed the citywide ban, said she doesn't know how the ban will fare tonight. She and Mayor Paul Fraim are the only council members who said they favor the substitute ordinance.

Councilman Paul R. Riddick, who has opposed all efforts to ban smoking, did not return phone calls. Councilwoman Daun S. Hester was out of town.

Wright said he also is concerned that other private businesses, including commercial bingo halls, would be included in the ban. The ban would not include bingo games run at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus or other churches or charities.

Stuart Engel, who runs the MidCity Bingo Hall near Southern Shopping Center, said the prohibition would hurt his business.

"There's no question people would go to Virginia Beach rather than Norfolk," he said. "The loss of revenue would be astronomical."

Whibley has said the opposite is true: that smoke-free restaurants will gain business from patrons seeking to avoid tobacco smoke.

EXCERPTS from The Virginian-Pilot, March 21, 2008, Editorial, headlined, "A cynical retreat on smoking ban", writer not given.
After years of inaction by the General Assembly, the Norfolk City Council's decision in October to make city restaurants smoke-free was both responsible and courageous, a simultaneous goad and repudiation to a legislature too beholden to tobacco interests.

The new city ordinance - the first of its kind in the commonwealth - was due to take effect in just two weeks.

On Tuesday, in an attempt to sway his defecting colleagues, Mayor Paul Fraim asked for substantial compromises, to exempt restaurants with fewer than 50 seats, to provide a reprieve for restaurants that lose business.

That's too bad for anyone who works in a restaurant. Too bad for diners who prefer to not inhale nicotine with their salmon. Too bad for visitors from places where smoking in restaurants was banned years ago. Too bad, too, for the image of Norfolk as a city with a progressive heartbeat.

There was no new information that prompted this change of heart, other than the obstinate gamesmanship of the GOP-controlled House of Delegates, led by Del. Terrie Suit.

Opponents were left instead with the same old disproven arguments, which got new life as the deadline drew near.

Prominent restaurateurs - and Councilman Paul Riddick - have said the smoking ban would hurt business, despite years of evidence and studies that show it has done no such thing. They have also claimed that patrons will simply go to restaurants in other cities, despite evidence that customers just don't do that.

The anti-ban clan was also populated by the vocal few who argue that government should butt completely out of business, which must be left free to do what it wants to whomever it chooses, including allowing patrons and employees to be poisoned on their premises.

This is some truly breathtaking logic and reasoning. And yet it somehow found traction among some City Council members.

Because nothing else has changed since October's vote, those now reversing themselves look simply cynical. Perhaps they were hoping the General Assembly would make their votes moot, or that Virginia Beach would ban smoking, too.

Either way, they bet wrong.

Norfolk now finds itself again all alone, trying to become the first city in Virginia to ban smoking in restaurants, on the strength of its convictions and on its belief in doing the right thing. Sadly, in the past few months, some members of City Council seem to have forgotten that life's most courageous decisions are always made alone.

EXCERPTS from The Virginian-Pilot, March 19, 2008, headlined, "Norfolk backs off move to end smoking in all restaurants", writer, Harry Minium.
During a 90-minute debate Tuesday, the [Norfolk] City Council appeared hesitant to follow through with plans to ban smoking in Norfolk restaurants. On March 31, Norfolk had been poised to become the first city in Virginia to end the practice.

"A majority of council now opposes it," Council member Theresa Whibley said of the ban passed five months ago.

Whibley, who rallied the council to pass the ban, said she is frustrated that city leaders are debating the same issue that they agreed on last year.

In October, the City Council voted 7-1 to ban smoking but agreed to delay the start date until this month. Norfolk then joined other cities in asking the General Assembly for the right to ban smoking.

Unlike neighboring localities, Norfolk officials say, they don't need permission because the city's charter already allows it to end smoking in restaurants.

The General Assembly refused to give neighboring cities the same authority. Since then, Norfolk council members have become reluctant to implement the ban.

Mayor Paul Fraim and several other council members tried to save the ban on smoking Tuesday by recommending significant changes to the city ordinance that the council will consider next week.

They included instructing City Attorney Bernard A. Pishko to give some restaurants the chance to continue smoking.

The exemptions would be for restaurants that seat 50 or fewer patrons and for those that can prove a smoking ban has harmed their business.

Pishko advised the council that the change for smaller restaurants would make the ban more legally defensible because it would conform to the Virginia Clean Air Act.

The idea of seeking a declaratory judgment from the courts to test the legality of the ordinance, suggested by City Manager Regina V.K. Williams, was also dismissed after Pishko said it was unworkable.

At one point, when asked for a legal opinion, Pishko suggested going into closed session. With a dozen restaurant owners and anti-smoking advocates watching, Fraim said no.

"I think we need to put it all on the table," Fraim said.

Baxter Simmons Jr., whose sports bar, Baxter's, is on Granby Street, was among restaurant owners at the meeting who opposed the ban.

He and others, including Ronnie Boone, who owns several restaurants in Ocean View, told the council that a ban would give restaurants in other cities a competitive advantage over those in Norfolk.

Even so, Whibley asked the council to press on with the original ban.

"If you believe this is important for our citizens... if you believe the science, then vote that way," she said.

"I believe the science," Fraim said. "But the best way to do this is with 50 seats or more. That gives us our best chance of winning."

The council will likely make a final decision on the issue next week.

EXCERPTS from The Virginian-Pilot, March 3, 2008. Editorial, headlined, "Norfolk can dispel last myth on smoking", writer not given.
Though there were inklings as far back as the 1600s, the fact that smoking kills has been scientific gospel for longer than a century. Still, even after the U.S. Surgeon General's warning in 1964, tobacco companies helped propagate and perpetuate the myth that cigarettes just weren't that bad for you.

That idea, of course, has been discredited ...  Discredited, too, has been the corollary about second-hand smoke and its danger to children and nonsmokers.

But the myths surrounding tobacco haven't disappeared. The latest is that a ban on smoking will destroy the hospitality industry, on which so much of Hampton Roads depends. The theory proceeds this way: People won't want to drink where they can't also smoke.

The profitable union of booze and cigarettes isn't a new idea. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the first American professor of chemistry, described the consequences of tobacco use: "One of the usual effects of smoaking and chewing is thirst. This thirst cannot be allayed by water.... A desire of course is excited for strong drinks, and these when taken between meals soon lead to intemperance and drunkenness."

It follows, argue tobacco advocates, that if you ban smoking in restaurants, people will stay home. When everybody smoked a half-century ago, a ban might've done damage. But smoking rates have been falling for 20 years now, and today about 20 percent of the adult population smokes cigarettes. Part of the decline, undoubtedly, has come because it is harder to smoke in American public spaces.

Even today, there are probably more smokers on a Saturday night when beer is served, but the simple fact is that fewer Americans smoke now because we know better. And despite the commonwealth's long love of tobacco, fewer Virginians smoke than in the average state.

It then stands to reason that banning smoking would actually serve more customers than allowing it. A smoking ban is undoubtedly healthier for employees, but is it healthier for business?

It is. Smoking has been forbidden in cities and states across America. In California, hospitality receipts have risen every year after the ban. In New York, according to the city, receipts rose 8.7 percent in the year after smoking was banned. A survey by Zagat - the restaurant review people - showed that 23 percent of respondents were eating out more often.

Smoking has been banned in bars and restaurants across America, with no damage to business. Still, though, tobacco companies and their friends claim that the nicotine-stained ceiling will tumble. Their argument, quite simply, is a myth designed to scare business owners into maintaining things as they are.

As Norfolk City Council gathers Tuesday to talk about barring smoking in all of its restaurants, it should keep that in mind. And this: Definitive studies have shown over and over that smoking bans - at worst - have no effect on sales. Several studies have concluded that they boost sales, even when the surrounding jurisdictions allow smoking in bars and restaurants.

Norfolk has a remarkable opportunity this week. It can do right by customers and by employees, who are now forced to breathe second-hand smoke. Perhaps more important, though, Norfolk can provide leadership to the rest of the commonwealth, and prove once and for all that it is no myth that doing good is also good for business.

EXCERPTS from The Virginian-Pilot, February 15, 2008, Editorial, headlined, "No time for Norfolk to give up on smoking ban", no writer given.
It's tough to quit smoking. Just ask Norfolk.

With hopes of a regional restaurant smoking ban reduced to ashes by the General Assembly, some of the Norfolk City Council members who inspired the effort now appear ready to give up. That would be a mistake, unless they have concluded somehow that secondhand smoke no longer causes cancer.

It's disappointing, yet not all that surprising that state lawmakers won't act to protect the health of Virginians, or short of that, to allow Norfolk's neighboring cities to do it. What would be inexcusable is for a city council that has the power not to exercise it.

Norfolk enacted a smoking ban last October, but delayed its implementation until March 31. That was done so that neighboring cities could petition lawmakers for the authority, apparently unique to Norfolk's old municipal charter, to enact local smoking bans. All the cities signed up in hopes of starting on the same date.

The bill easily passed through the Senate, but was scuttled by a hostile subcommittee in the House. The obscure panel showed little regard for the measure's enthusiastic popular support, or the backing of city councils representing more than a million people.

... The setback has shaken the resolve of the council where the campaign began.

The best that might now emerge is a watered-down version that exempts bars, but not restaurants, making a distinction that exists neither in law nor in science. The state code doesn't recognize a difference between a bar and a restaurant, so it is hard to see how it will be enforced. And smoke in a bar is no less of a hazard than smoke in a restaurant

Creating one rule for bars, another for restaurants does make one important distinction that matters, but not in a way that council members might wish.

It will separate those council members who want a smoking ban because it is popular from those who believe it is necessary.

Last fall, when the idea was gaining momentum, Councilman Don Williams said, "We need to do this for the health of our citizens." According to a report by Pilot staff writer Harry Minium, Williams is one of the five members who voted for the ban last fall who's now getting wobbly.

Williams and the others worrying about the political fallout ought to fall in line behind a colleague, Theresa Whibley. Here's what she said when the ordinance was passed:

"When we vote on the side of the health of our citizens and employees, we're never sorry."

That was solid reasoning last fall and it remains so now.

EXCERPTS from The Virginian-Pilot, February 13, 2008, headlined, "Norfolk council not yet ready to approve smoking ban", writer Harry Minium.
After an hour of debate during which the City Council failed to reach a consensus, members set aside a future meeting to decide whether to ban smoking in restaurants.

Tuesday's discussion revealed wide differences ... members hope to resolve March 3.

Council members expressed fear the city would be sued if the prohibition is implemented on March 31 as scheduled.

City Attorney Bernard Pishko said the city charter authorizes the power to ban smoking, but said he can't guarantee the city would win if sued.

In October, Norfolk passed an ordinance to prohibit smoking in restaurants. At the same time, Virginia Beach and other cities asked the General Assembly for permission to do the same. The Assembly appears unlikely to agree.

That would make Norfolk the first Virginia locality to ban smoking. Mayor Paul Fraim said if the city is going to be the first, it must make sure it passes a legally defensible ordinance.

"We want to do something we know is enforceable, not just make a statement," he said.

Councilman Don Williams proposed an amendment that would allow restaurants to file for applications to allow smoking, providing they put signs on their doors telling patrons that smoking is allowed.

That would "gut" the ordinance, Councilwoman Theresa Whibley said.

Vice Mayor Anthony L. Burfoot urged an exception for "cigar bars" and the creation of a program similar to one in the District of Columbia, where restaurants that show a ban has hurt business can allow smoking.

Both proposals drew mixed support and, at times, a majority of the council seemed inclined to postpone the prohibition indefinitely.

That frustrated Whibley, a physician who advocates no smoking for health reasons.

"I'm very disappointed that our council has forgotten the needs of our citizens and the desires of our citizens," she said.

[Virginia GASP]  Updated 29 September 2008