A beach and boardwalk smoking ban in Ocean City, Md. has been in the works for several months, and on Tuesday night in finally came to fruition as the city council voted 4-3 in favor of enacting it during a work session.
The presentation made by city staff to the city council projects a fiscal impact of between $17,000 and $20,000 to create these new designated smoking areas, which would be 50 feet from either the boardwalk or the toe of the established dune. The areas would be active from May 1 to Sept. 30 with receptacles for waste, while from October 1 to April 30 the receptacles would not be in place as the city says normal maintenance would suffice.
Electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices were not part of the ban, mainly since they do not generate waste and are not considered by the city to be tobacco products.
While specifics of where smokers will be allowed to light up remain an issue to be decided, a public awareness campaign will start the city’s efforts to bring attention to the new ban, a project that is expected to cost upwards of $20,000.
The ordinance will go into effect on May 1, 2015 in advance of the high season for tourism, which draws upwards of eight million visitors per year and summer weekend swells of more than 300,000 visitors.
Ocean City is located approximately 105 miles southeast of Baltimore and is home to just over 7,000 residents.