Baltimore County Council passes bill to restrict smoking in area parks

TOWSON, Md. - It could soon be much tougher to find a place to smoke in Baltimore County.

Under a bill passed 6-0 by the County Council Tuesday night, smokers would be prohibited from lighting up at athletic fields, dog parks, playgrounds and tot lots located at county parks. The ban also prohibits smoking within 30 feet of a recreation building. Those guilty of violating the policy could be fined up to $50.

“This isn’t a bill about banning smoking,” said Councilwoman Vicki Almond, a Pikesville Democrat. “This is about looking out for the children in our community.

Almond, who co-sponsored the bill along with councilmen David Marks (R-Perry Hall) and Tom Quirk (D-Catonsville), said while some wanted to ban smoking from parks altogether, this bill provides the proper balance for those who want to smoke.

Among the provisions in the bill, smoking is still allowed in places like the parking lot and pavilions at the parks, Almond said.

“There’s no debate the harm smoking can cause people,” Almond said. “But we didn’t want to deny the person walking their dog late at night who doesn’t want to smoke at home or the person fishing at a pier their right to smoke. Smoking is already banned on school grounds, so this bill is the perfect next step.”

The bill must now be signed by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. The bill would become law in 45 days should Kamenetz sign the legislation.



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