This week, efforts to curb indoor smoking in Virginia took a major step towards becoming law when the House of Delegates approved House Bill 1842 on a 72 to 27 bipartisan vote. The measure introduced by Delegate Mark L. Keam (D-Fairfax) now heads to the State Senate for its consideration.
“As Virginians continue to shelter at home due to COVID, I hear from constituents who live in apartments or condos concerned that their neighbors who smoke are making things even worse for their physical and mental health,” said Del. Keam. “My bill offers new tools for property owners to tackle this public health issue by requiring smoking residents to stop second-hand toxins from spreading on their premises and harming neighbors.”
HB 1842 is a product of broad-based and bipartisan work conducted by the Virginia Housing Commission. A workgroup made up of representatives of building managers, homeowners’ associations, public health officials, and legislators drafted this bill to provide legal authority to owners of condominiums and other multi-dwelling units to ban smoking within their premises.
These homeowners’ associations would be empowered to adopt rules to restrict smoking in and around their properties and common areas. The rules could include prohibiting inside individual units if residents who wish to smoke in their homes are not able to implement adequate filtering or ventilation systems to prevent smoke from entering their neighbors’ residential units.
The text of HB 1842 as well as details on all seven bills introduced by Delegate Keam this year can be found online.
Del. Mark Keam represents the 35th House District located in Fairfax County, which includes Tysons, the Town of Vienna, Dunn Loring, and portions of McLean, Oakton, and Fairfax.