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PolitiFact Virginia: Kaine's Capitol Tobacco Claim Goes Up In Smoke

Politifact Virginia
Sen. Tim Kaine said both chambers in the Virginia capitol have gold-embossed tobacco leaves on the ceiling. In Virginia, it’s lore that the ceilings in legislative chambers are adorned with tobacco frescoes. But is it true? We fact checked the claim, spread by Kaine and many others, and it went up in smoke.

Speaker: Tim Kaine

Statement: The ceilings of the Virginia Senate and House chambers are “circled by gold-embossed tobacco leaves.”

Date: May 20

Setting: Floor speech

U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mitch McConnell have introduced a bill that would raise the age for buying tobacco products from 18 to 21.

The senators say they’re bothered by a surge in tobacco use by young people, brought on by e-cigarettes. The senators represent two of the largest tobacco-growing states: McConnell, the Republican majority leader, is from Kentucky; Kaine is a Virginia Democrat.

Kaine acknowledged tobacco’s huge historic role in Virginia while introducing the bill in a May 20  floor speech. “Tobacco has had such a place in our history that in the ceiling of both legislative chambers in the Virginia Capitol, designed by Thomas Jefferson, the ceiling is circled by gold-embossed tobacco leaves,” he said.

In Virginia, it’s lore that the ceilings in legislative chambers are adorned with tobacco frescoes. But is it true? We fact-checked the claim, spread by Kaine and many others, and it went up in smoke.


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