Bills to restrict smoking nearly snuffed out in Md.

Kate Ryan,

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Proposed smoking restrictions aren’t catching fire in Annapolis as the Maryland General Assembly reaches the final weeks of a 90-day session.

A bill to keep adults from smoking with children in the car went nowhere. Another that would declare smoking a nuisance in condos, townhomes and apartment buildings — effectively banning smoking if a resident made a complaint — also ran into trouble.

However, the Montgomery County Council was told in a briefing on Monday that the bill could be re-packaged as county-only legislation.

Delegate Ben Kramer’s bill came after complaints from residents that smoke from their neighbors was unbearable.

Some Montgomery County Council members, including Hans Riemer, are sympathetic but questions arose on how the law would be applied.

“We looked at it before, and there was a requirement that our (county’s) health department would have to look at every claim. And that’s just not realistic,” Riemer said.

Condo residents can potentially convince their boards to ban smoking, but it can be tricky, Riemer said.

Still, the democratic process with a condo board might be more workable.

A look at the bill shows that certain nuisances simply don’t apply to condos, townhomes and apartments such as “an unprotected open ditch,” “a foul pigpen” and “an unsanitary outhouse.”

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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