On Tuesday, the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously in favor of an expansion to its smoking ban that will prohibit smoking in the outdoor areas of restaurants and bars.
“Prohibiting smoking in outdoor seating areas provides for a healthier environment for both patrons and employees,” said Council Vice President Sidney Katz in a press release. “I am pleased to have sponsored this bill and to have the support of my Council colleagues on this public health measure.”
The county has had a ban on smoking inside of restaurants or bars since October 2003, and a statement from the council called the passage of Bill 35-18 a way to provide customers who choose to enjoy a meal or drink in an outside seating area with the same level of protection from the health impacts of smoking. The ban applies to both traditional tobacco products as well as e-cigarettes and vaping devices.
Outdoor seating areas associated with golf courses are not impacted by the new law, having been granted an exemption.
The ban is expected to go into effect over the summer, with violators subject to a $50 fine. The county also has a ban on smoking on county-owned or -leased property, including bus stops.
Montgomery County is located to the southeast of Baltimore and is home to an estimated 1,059,000 residents.