The mayor and council in Ocean City, Md., are responding to a grassroots effort to reduce smoking at beaches, but they're stopping short of a ban.
More than a dozen people argued the pros and cons of smoking on the beaches in Ocean City during a public hearing before the mayor and council.
It was the result of a campaign started last summer by a local resident, who cited many beaches in California that have passed smoking bans and continued attracting tourists at pre-smoking ban levels.
The opinions were passionate but essentially divided, as locals, non-resident property owners and even a lobbyist for big tobacco took turns speaking.
In the end, the council voted to write an ordinance emphasizing a rule already in place that bans smoking in public parks and playgrounds, but it did not schedule any further discussion regarding smoking on the beach.
Some council members say banning smoking could hurt tourism in the long run.