How Far Will Smoking Bans Go in Washington?

Montgomery County prohibits smoking in county-owned property, including bus stops.

Montgomery County recently passed a smoking ban on all county-owned properties, including bus stops. Local universities have also made their campuses smoke-free. How far will the crackdown on smoking go in Washington? Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

Washington continues to follow New York City’s crackdown on public smoking, with Montgomery County Council’s decision yesterday to ban lighting up on most county-owned and leased property, including bus stops.

Montgomery is the second county in the area to make bus shelters smoke-free, after Fairfax County, which enacted the ban in 2010.

The ban does not include certain medical facilities, including those that treat patients suffering from addictions. Those undergoing addiction treatment will be able to smoke in designated areas on the campus. Smokers are also allowed to smoke on the golf course at Falls Road in Potomac, the only county-owned golf course.

The smoke-free movement in Washington has grown in recent years, and not just on government property. Local universities, including the University of Maryland, American University, and George Washington University, recently announced their campuses would be 100 percent smoke-free by the middle or end of this year. The three universities join Towson University and the University of the District of Columbia, which are already smoke-free.

The new bill was put forth by Montgomery County Council member Nancy Floreen, who revealed last November that she had breast cancer. She has said that expanding the smoking ban is the first step to eliminating all forms of cancer.

Currently, smoking is illegal in Montgomery playground areas and common areas in apartments and condos. Since 2003 smoking has been prohibited in all eating and drinking establishments. The District enacted the same ban in 2006.