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Montgomery County Considers Partial Smoking Ban

Smokers would be banned from lighting up in common areas of at least 1,200 properties under a proposal being considered by the Montgomery County Council.

The regulation, which received a mixed reaction from a council committee Thursday, would prohibit smoking cigarettes in hallways, laundry rooms, lobbies or other indoor common areas of multi-family homes, such as apartment complexes or townhouse developments. The ban would not apply to outdoor common areas, except playgrounds.

Councilman George L. Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park, who authored the regulation, also seeks to expand the ban to smoking cigarettes on all private playgrounds -- not just those that belong to multi-family homes. This would include playgrounds that are overseen by homeowners associations, but not a playground in the backyard of a single-family home.

“If you are exposed to second-hand smoke cigarettes under these circumstances it is not fair,” he said during the Rockville meeting.

Bruce Bereano, a lobbyist for the state’s cigarettes wholesalers, said Leventhal’s regulation is another step toward an outright smoking cigarettes ban.

“This is really a de facto ban on smoking cigarettes in Montgomery County,” Bereano said.

Leventhal said he considered a complete ban on smoking cigarettes in multi-family housing, but determined a majority of the nine-member council did not support such a policy.

The full council is expected to vote July 12 on the partial ban.

The council’s Health and Human Services Committee, which Leventhal chairs, voted Thursday to support the ban on smoking cigarettes in indoor common areas. Leventhal supported expanding the ban to include all private playgrounds, but Councilman Craig L. Rice (D-Dist. 2) of Germantown did not. Councilwoman Nancy M. Navarro (D-Dist. 4) of Silver Spring was not at the meeting to break the tie.

Enforcement of the partial ban is expected to cost the county about $11,000 annually.

Rice said he takes his children to a playground near his Germantown home that would be subject to the proposed ban. And while he does not want them exposed to second-hand smoke, he questions whether his rights trump those of smokers who take their children to the playground.

Montgomery County already outlaws smoking cigarettes in workplaces and restaurants. The county does not have the authority to ban smoking cigarettes in parks overseen by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

Leventhal said his proposal closes a loophole that allows people to come into contact with dangerous secondhand smoke cigarettes where they live and play.

Bereano questioned the lawmaker’s motives in proposing the ban.

“The anti-smoking cigarettes, anti-tobacco people have long used children as the Trojan horse for their real agenda,” he said.





The term cigarettes, as normally employed, refers to a tobacco cigarette, but can be utilized like devices holding in other herbaceous plants, such as eugenia caryophyllatums. A cigarette is differentiated from a cigar by its modest sizing, utilization of treated leafage, and paper wrap, which is usually white hot, though other coloring materials are sometimes usable. Cigars are mostly compiled totally of whole-leaf tobacco plant.

Rates of cheap smokes changes widely, and have altered substantially over the course of human history since cigarettes were 1st wide used in the mid-19th century. While rates of smoke have over time leveled off or turned down in the highly developed world, they continue to up-rise in evolving states. Nicotine, the main psychotropic chemical substance in baccy and therefore cigarettes, has been shown to be psychologically habit forming, although it does not generate a physiologic addiction.

Cheap cigarettes usage by pregnant women has also been shown to stimulate birth defects, including mental and physical disabilities.