Council introduces bill to ban smoking in outdoor serving areas

The county’s smoking ban would be expanded to include outdoor serving areas such as patios, decks or porches operated by restaurants under a bill introduced by the County Council this week.

Councilmember Sidney Katz (D-District 3) is the lead sponsor of Bill 35-18, Health and Sanitation – Smoking- Outdoor Serving Areas, which is cosponsored by Council President Hans Riemer (D-At Large) and councilmembers Marc Elrich (D-At Large) and Craig Rice (D-District 2).

Sitting as the county’s Board of Health, the council introduced a resolution with the same title and effect.

A similar ban is already in place in the cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg.

“We let the restaurant association know that we were considering it, we let the chambers of commerce know we were considering it, we met, obviously, with groups of citizens that were advocates for it,” Katz told the media following the bill’s introduction.

“I let everybody who’s involved, or could be involved, in this type of legislation up front what’s being considered and give them the option to come in and give your good suggestions,” he added.

Prior to the bill’s consideration, county staff will assess the economic and fiscal impact of the bill, among other considerations.

The county first implemented a public smoking ban in 2003, and later expanded it to include bus stops and parks, along with banning e-cigarettes in the same areas.

A public hearing on Bill 35-18 is tentatively scheduled for October 23 at 1:30 p.m.

Image from published under CC0 Creative Commons license.

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