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Howard County Bans Smoking in All County Parks


Howard County Bans Smoking in All County Parks



In a continued effort to be a model public health community and preserve its rank as Maryland’s Healthiest County, Howard County announced today that it will be the first jurisdiction in Maryland with a total ban on smoking and tobacco products of any kind in all the 57 County-owned parks and recreational areas.

The ban took effect with the signing of an Executive Order, by Howard County Executive Ken Ulman. Enforcement will take the form of requesting voluntary compliance. However, if a smoker does not extinguish a smoking product, Park staff will remind them of the new policy and could request exiting the property if they choose to continue smoking.

Tobacco-related illness is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. Exposure to second-hand smoke anywhere, even outside, has negative health impacts. Levels of second-hand smoke exposure can reach the same levels attained indoors depending on direction and amount of wind and number and proximity of smokers. Both indoor and outdoor exposure poses a health risk to the public. For children, not only can second-hand smoke cause pneumonia and bronchitis but it can worsen childhood asthma, increase the risk of sudden infant death (SIDS) and even cause death.

“While Howard is the healthiest county in the State, there are still areas for improvement.” notes Dr. Peter Beilenson, Health Officer. “Residents should use the parks for fitness and fun. Removing the possibility for exposure to second-hand smoke ensures that our parks are clean, safe and healthy for residents and visitors alike.”

We want to make Howard County the healthiest community it can be,” said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman. “We want our children to know that parks are the place to be healthy and to enjoy the environment and recreation.”

For more information about the ban, to read the Executive Order or to learn more about smoking cessation programs, click here