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Montgomery Parks Adopts New Rules Regarding Smoking and Tobacco Use in Parks and Facilities

by Melissa Chotiner on June 30th, 2016

Policy addresses health, safety and environmental concerns

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, today announced effective July 1, 2016, it will adopt regulations in accordance with the Maryland legislation passed in October 2015 to prohibit smoking of lighted tobacco products in its nonexempt parks and facilities. In addition, M-NCPPC is prohibiting the usage of e-cigarettes, vapors or any smokeless tobacco products indoors and in designated outdoor areas.

 

Montgomery Parks joins a growing number of Maryland municipalities, as well as city parks, public beaches, college campuses and private venues across the country, to address the concerns of tobacco use in public spaces.

 

Beginning July 1, 2016, the following rules regarding the use of smoking and tobacco products will go into effect:

  • Visitors and staff will not be permitted to smoke a cigarette, cigar, pipe or any other lighted tobacco in outdoor parks or venues or indoor facilities.
  • Visitors and staff will not be permitted to use e-cigarettes or vaping devices in all indoor facilities and designated outdoor areas.
  • Visitors and staff will not be permitted to use any smokeless products such as chewing tobacco or snuff in all indoor facilities and designated outdoor areas.

 

The ban covers all public parks and facilities within the jurisdiction of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, with the exception of designated facilities used to raise revenue. Current exemptions in the Montgomery Parks system include event/wedding venues, golf courses, and residential rental homes. The policy applies to all park patrons as well as M-NCPPC employees.

 

“The purpose of the legislation is to preserve and improve the health, safety and comfort of people in our public parks and facilities,” said Montgomery Parks Director Mike Riley, “and to provide and maintain a healthy work environment for all employees.”

 

Banning smoking at parks and facilities will benefit people, wildlife and the environment in many ways including:

  • Improves air quality for park users, protecting individuals from the harmful effects of second hand smoke.
  • Reduces the risk of fire, protecting the physical safety of individuals and wildlife.
  • Reduces the environmental impact of cigarette butts, including harm to wildlife, water supply systems and soil.
  • Saves money by reducing associated clean-up costs.
  • Motivates smokers to quit or reduce use.
  • Decreases negative role modeling for impressionable children.
  • Cultivates healthy outdoor environments, building a healthier community.

 

Park patrons who do not adhere to the new policy will receive a warning from The Maryland-National Capital Park Police for the first offense and a $25 fine for subsequent infractions.

For more information, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org

About the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 37,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 417 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a    bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.MontgomeryParks.org

 

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