Montgomery Co. Council Backs Bill To Expand Smoking Ban | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Montgomery Co. Council Backs Bill To Expand Smoking Ban

Play associated audio
If the new bill passes, Montgomery County's smoking ban would be extended to county owned and leased properties.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/westm/3743407311/
If the new bill passes, Montgomery County's smoking ban would be extended to county owned and leased properties.

Thursday is the Great American Smokeout, where smokers are urged to give up their habit for one day in hopes that might lead them to quit permanently. For those who do keep smoking in Montgomery County, they could soon find fewer places to do so.

The county has been at the forefront of smoking bans nationwide, with its first ban occurring all the way back in 1977 when smoking was outlawed in elevators and large retail stores. That ban has been extended numerous times, and councilwoman Nancy Floreen now wants to extend it some more.

"There is no risk-free level of exposure to second-hand smoke," says Floreen.

She unveiled a bill this morning that would ban smoking on all county-owned and leased property.

"All the grounds of county office buildings," says Floreen. "It would extend to the area around the jail, the Montgomery County correctional facility. Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring. County garages and parking lots. Grounds of county-owned golf courses. County-owned recreational facilities."

The bill already has six co-sponsors, giving it more than enough support to pass it should it come to a vote, which wouldn't be until early next year. One of those co-sponsors is councilman George Leventhal, who says the goal is to get people to quit smoking, not to punish them. He believes that effort is working, pointing to the 2003 move to ban smoking in county restaurants and bars.

"In 2003, about 11 percent of adults in Montgomery County were smokers," says Leventhal. "About 8 percent of adults in Montgomery County are smokers today. We're headed in the right direction. We want to get that number to zero."

Floreen did say she and her colleagues will look further at how much the ban would put the county-owned golf courses at a disadvantage, possibly leading golfers who want to smoke to take their business to the many other courses throughout the area. 

Public roads and bus shelters are not part of the expanded smoking ban. Supporters say that's not because it's OK to smoke there, but because it would be impossible for the county to enforce a ban at those places.

A public hearing on the bill is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 15.

NPR

William T. Vollmann Explores The Afterlife In 'Last Stories'

"I've always wanted to write fiction and nonfiction at the same time," Vollmann says. In recent years he's written nonfiction, but his new work is a collection of stories about love, lust and ghosts.
NPR

Saskawhat? A Novel Berry From Canada Takes Root On Michigan Farms

Some rookie farmers in northern Michigan are growing saskatoon, an imported shrub from Canada that looks like blueberry. They're also experimenting with it in the kitchen — in jams and pies.
NPR

What Will Become Of Obama's Request For Immigration Relief Funds?

NPR's Arun Rath talks to political correspondent Mara Liasson about the chances of a political agreement over how to handle the migration of thousands of Central American children.
NPR

Looking For Free Sperm, Women May Turn To Online Forums

Bypassing commercial sperm banks, thousands are logging on to websites where women can connect with men at no cost. Anecdotes abound, but the scope of the unregulated activity is unclear.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.