BY BRYNA ZUMER, email@example.com
3:37 PM EST, January 3, 2012
Anyone trying to light up a cigarette on Harford County property will be told to head elsewhere.
The county's smoking ban, which was protested by several people at a public hearing Dec. 5, went into effect Sunday.
The ban applies to smoking and the use of any tobacco products on all property either owned, leased or operated by Harford County, as well as any active county work site.
It includes all buildings and grounds, open spaces, parking lots and garages, driveways and recreational facilities and county vehicles.
It does not include the grounds of the District Court and Circuit Court in Bel Air.
Banned products include electronic cigarettes, which technically do not contain tobacco, as well as snuff, dip and chewing tobacco.
Employees who violate the rule will be asked to stop the violation or leave the premises.
"The County is committed to promoting a healthy and productive environment for our employees, vendors, and visitors," the rule states, on http://www.harfordcountymd.gov. "This rule and regulation is intended to: 1) reduce the health risks related to tobacco, smoking, secondhand smoke and third-hand smoke inasmuch as smoking is a major cause of preventable disease and death, 2) reduce the environmental damage caused by discarded cigarette butts, 3) eliminate the risk of smoking-caused fires and 4) promote a positive image to the public."
Anyone who has already entered a contract to rent a county facility may request the county to establish a designated smoking area on the grounds of the facility during the event listed in the rental contract.
Concerns regarding violation of the ban should be referred to the Department of Administration, 220 S. Main St. in Bel Air or 410-638-3350.