Montgomery County leaders are considering tightening restrictions on tobacco use again, this time with a ban on smoking on any property owned or leased by county government.
The ban—proposed by Councilwoman Nancy M. Floreen—would apply to the land around recreation centers and county buildings, for example, but not bus shelters and sidewalks, The Washington Examiner reported.
Floreen, a breast cancer survivor, will announce more details at a news conference Thursday timed to coincide with the Great American Smokeout. The American Cancer Society "smokeout" aims at getting the nation’s 44 million smokers to quit, including the 1 in 12 adults in Montgomery County who smoke, according to a county statement.
The county has been at the leading edge of the nationwide tobacco crackdown. Smoking is already banned in restaurants, bars, elevators and other indoor public areas. Last August, the county banned smoking within 25 feet of shared playgrounds and in apartment complex’s common indoor areas, such as hallways, laundry rooms and lobbies.
“I have unfortunately spent a lot of time over the past year with people who have cancer,” said Floreen (D-At large) of Garrett Park. “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.”
Floreen plans to submit the bill at the Council’s Nov. 20 session. A public hearing is tentatively set for Jan. 15.
With five co-sponsors—Nancy Navarro, Craig Rice, Hans Riemer, George Leventhal and Marc Elrich—the bill seems primed to pass.
“We as a community have become so accustomed to [smoking bans] that it’s shocking to be in a place where smoking is the norm,” Floreen told The Washington Times. “This is not the earth-shattering effort it might have been 10 years ago."