Council to hear testimony on bill to curb public smoking

February 10, 1993

The County Council is scheduled to hear public testimony tonight on Councilwoman Maureen Lamb's bill to restrict smoking in restaurants, offices and other public places.

Under the bill, smoking in public areas would be limited to a closed-off room or separate area designated by a business owner or employer. Public places affected by the bill include banks, cafeterias, classrooms, health care facilities, public areas of hotels and motels, public meeting rooms, restrooms, theaters and other entertainment halls, and stores employing more than eight people.

Bars, bowling alleys, tobacco shops, private parties and certain long-term health care facilities are exempt from the restrictions.

The bill mandates nonsmoking areas for restaurants seating more than 50 people but only until 10 p.m., in a concession to restaurant owners.

A company that employs more than 10 people would have to provide a smoke-free working environment to any employee who requests it.

Smokers who light up in nonsmoking areas could be fined up to $1,000 and receive a jail sentence of up to six months.

Opponents to the bill include the tobacco lobby, business, tourism and entertainment groups.

Supporters include several health professionals and the American Lung Association.

The meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. in the Arundel Center.

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