Smoking will be banned inside Harborplace and The Gallery beginning April 1, the first malls in Baltimore City to impose a nonsmoking policy, the malls' manager said.
"The medical evidence against secondhand cigarette smoke, coupled with the fact that eight out of 10 adults report that they are annoyed with other people's smoking, led us to implement this new smoke-free policy for the comfort of all of our customers," said J. Martin Lastner, vice president and general manager of Harborplace and The Gallery.
He said the new policy is a result of "the national wave of attention that has been given to smoking and the dangers of secondhand smoke."
"We don't expect any change in business. I think it will have no impact. If there is a smoker in a group, they will have ample opportunity to smoke a cigarette," Mr. Lastner said.
Each of the restaurants and retail merchants at Harborplace and The Gallery have set their own smoking policy in the past and will continue to do so under the new policy. Most retail merchants currently have a no-smoking policy.
Most restaurants at Harborplace provide smoking and nonsmoking sections.
Smoking bans have been imposed in many public areas throughout Maryland since a January 1993 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report classified secondhand smoke as a Group A carcinogen and said that exposure to secondhand smoke annually leads to the death of 3,000 nonsmokers and up to 300,000 cases of bronchitis and pneumonia in children.
Smoke-free policies already exist in malls in Howard, Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Carroll counties.
"I think it's great," Mark Kressley, manager of Sam Goody in The Gallery, said about the new policy. "It's a good idea. I don't smoke, and I don't feel people should have to breathe other peoples' smoke in public places."
Dawn Minkel, assistant manager of Lee's Ice Cream Factory, saw the new policy as a violation of her rights as a smoker.
"Being a smoker, I'm not going to care too much for it, but I'll abide by it. It's just going to be hard to go eight or nine hours without a cigarette," she said, adding that she'll go outside to smoke when the policy takes effect.