A Montgomery County councilmember wants to ban smoking on most public property, including in county parks, around recreation centers and outside county buildings. Smoking is already banned inside county buildings.
Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-At large) of Garrett Park said her own experience with cancer (Floreen is a breast cancer survivor) motivated her to put together the bill, which will be introduced on Nov. 20 and featured in a press conference on Nov. 15, according to a press release.
“I have unfortunately spent a lot of time over the past year with people who have cancer,” Floreen said in the release. “I want to do everything I can to help prevent this awful disease in all of its forms, and this is a good place to start.”
The release goes on to say that one in 12 adults in Montgomery County smoke cigarettes and that smoking accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths. The Nov. 15 press conference will be held in conjunction with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout and will include American Cancer Society officials.
The bill would not ban smoking in public right of way spaces, the only public property exempt.
Last year, the Council approved a smoking ban at playgrounds and indoor common spaces, such as privately owned apartment hallways or lobbies. That measure met some resistance, but not as much as in 1999, when the county was the first in the state to ban smoking in bars. The law was enacted in 2003.
Floreen’s proposal has the support of a majority of the nine-person Council, with Councilmembers Nancy Navarro (D-East County), Craig Rice (D-Upcounty), Hans Riemer (D-At large) of Silver Spring, March Elrich (D-At large) of Takoma Park and George Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park on board.
A public hearing on the measure is scheduled for Jan. 15.