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Proposed Smoking Ban Draws Sparse Criticism In Montgomery Co.

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Cigarette butts will be an even rarer sight in Montgomery County if legislation is passed.
Matthias Weinberger: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035610542@N01/60002388/
Cigarette butts will be an even rarer sight in Montgomery County if legislation is passed.

The sponsor of the bill to expand Montgomery County's smoking ban believes support is near universal for the measure.

The county council held a public hearing on the bill Tuesday afternoon, and only three people spoke. Councilwoman Nancy Floreen took that as a sign that support is strong for her bill to expand the smoking ban to most county-owned property.

One of those who did speak today was not in favor. Debra Robins is with Century Distributors. She says 82 percent of their business is distributing cigarettes to retail stores.

"Why at this time do we need another bill to limit where consumers can smoke? Why is this even a discussion?" Robins says. "I believe most adult smokers are aware of where they can and can't smoke. When was the last time someone was in a public restroom in Montgomery County where someone was smoking?"

Christine Feinthel of Wheaton believes smoking is on the rise in the county, particularly among youth in her area.

"Bethesda and environs see the smoking problem as solved. There was only one smoker at last year's Glen Echo folk festival," Feinthel says. "In contrast, at a crowded Silver Spring festival, there was a good deal of smoking."

One area not covered under the bill is bus stops. Supporters would like to see them added, though councilman George Leventhal had some reservations about that, saying he did not want to see RideOn bus drivers forced to become the smoking police.

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