Ocean City is the only resort town on the Maryland shore that still allows smoking on the beach.
In Maryland, proponents of a smoking ban on the beach and boardwalk in Ocean City will have to wait until 2015, per a surprise City Council ruling this week.
All of Ocean City’s neighboring resorts in Delaware have passed smoking bans in recent years, making Maryland’s premiere seaside resort the only place you can lawfully smoke on the beach.
And with a pressure from proponents the City Council was expected to pass a ban this week, but the mayor and Council punted the proposal until next fall, claiming that while the intent to ban smoking is there, the timing is off.
“Just to flip the switch probably would have caused us quite a few problems, the best thing to do is to do it right, to set a date, so that we can engage the public in the conversation and we can put the plan in place," says Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan.
Meehan says he wants to make it clear that the Council has not kicked the smoking issue down the road, but rather, is planning to ban smoking next May, giving the town time to designate smoking areas and put up signs that would point smokers in the right direction.
“We’re trying to accommodate everybody, but at the same time, take an action that we think is essential in 2014-15 moving forward," he says.
For folks who like to light up a butt while lounging on their beach chairs in Ocean City, Meehan says this summer could be your last hurrah.
So as the old saying goes, if you find yourself on the beach in Ocean City this summer, you may as well smoke ‘em while you got ‘em.