By Natalie Neumann
Starting Dec. 1, Virginia will join dozens of other states that ban smoking in restaurants. The new law is a major shift for a state where tobacco has been king since Jamestown was settled 400 years ago.
About 70 percent of Virginia restaurants have already banned smoking on their own. Restaurants in Virginia will be allowed to have a smoking area only if they segregate smokers into rooms with ventilation systems separate from those that heat and cool nonsmoking patrons.
A Virginia restaurant industry lobbyist expects only about 10 percent of the state's restaurants to retain smoking areas.
More than 20 states and the District of Columbia have laws that ban restaurant smoking.