Harford County government says it plans to impose a complete smoking ban on its properties, owned or leased, though it isn’t clear what specific properties fall into that category.
The Harford County Department of Administration will conduct a public hearing on the proposed rule and regulation requiring county government property to be tobacco-free on Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. in the second floor conference room, Harford County Government Administration Building, 220 South Main St. in Bel Air.
“There’s been an issue at the county office building, where smokers congregate down the handicapped ramp and also at a picnic table on the parking lot,” Thomas said.
The proposed tobacco-free rule and regulation states: “Smoking and use of any tobacco products is prohibited on all property owned, leased or operated by Harford County, Maryland (the ‘County’). This consists of all buildings and grounds, including exterior open spaces, parking lots and garages, driveways and recreational facilities. In addition, smoking is prohibited in any vehicle owned or leased by the County.”
Besides cigarettes, cigars and pipes, “smoking” is defined as the use of other tobacco products such as snuff and chewing tobacco, as well as, e-cigarettes.
The tobacco ban will take effect Jan. 1, 2012; however, the regulation has a provision for the county to provide a designated smoking area outside any leased county facility that is under contract to be used prior to the ban taking place.
Employees who violate this regulation are subject to disciplinary action, according to the regulation. Visitors and/or vendors who are observed violating this regulation will be required to cease the violation, or will be asked to leave the premises.
Thomas could not immediately provide specific details on the properties that will or will not be affected by the ban. He did say he had been told the libraries’ grounds would not be covered by it.