A House of Delegates subcommittee unanimously killed legislation to ban smoking in restaurants and most other indoor places.
The action Thursday evening came as no surprise. The same subcommittee has rejected anti-smoking bills in the past.
The move does not bode well for similar legislation passed by the Virginia Senate earlier this week. That measure will go to the same subcommittee when it reaches the House.
Public health advocates spoke in favor of the ban at a public hearing, arguing government has a duty to protect citizens from the harmful health effects of secondhand smoke.
However, legislators sided with the restaurant industry, which opposed the ban. Several restaurant owners say they have a right to respond to their customers' desires on whether to allow smoking.