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Camden Yards' smoking ban in effect on Opening Day

At Camden Yards on Friday, baseballs, the scent of sizzling hot dogs and a beautiful blue sky were in the air as the Orioles played the Minnesota Twins in their home opener.

The smell of cigarette smoke was not, though, as the Maryland Stadium Authority began the enforcement of a smoking ban at the Camden Yards Sports and Entertainment Complex, which includes Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium.

Friday's game was the first since the smoking ban was put into effect. It prohibits smoking or carrying lit tobacco products — including cigarettes, cigars and pipes — within 25 feet of the stadium and the Warehouse, as well as in the outdoor space along Eutaw Street between gates A and H.

Camden Yards was one of 10 Major League Baseball ballparks that had designated smoking areas within the ballpark last season, according to the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation.

Now fans attending the games are only permitted to smoke in a designated area outside of Gate E1 on the third base side of the ballpark. When they are done, they are allowed to re-enter the concourse directly.

Between the second and third innings, about 100 fans stood smoking outside the stadium in the designated area, which is accessible from the concourse and is gated in with a waist-high orange-barred fence.

"I agree that nobody should be subjected to second-hand smoke, but if you are outside in the concourse against a railing, then I don't understand why that's a problem," said Jane Miller, 55, of Baltimore. "I appreciate that they are giving us an area to come to, but it's inconvenient if you're not sitting in this area."

Her seats were in right field, so she had to walk about half of the perimeter of the stadium to reach the smoking section.

Non-smoker Lauren Kleinman views the smoking ban as a welcome change.

"I think it's excellent," said Kleinman, 30, of Columbia. "They have somewhere they can smoke and it doesn't affect everyone else who doesn't want to walk through all of it. They'll probably [complain] about it, but I'm very pleased."

Not all orange-clad smokers are up in arms, though.

"I understand why they do it, because as the years have gone on, smokers have less and less rights," said Kevin Templeton, 32, of Gambrills. "I've been to a lot of other ballparks — I've been to 13 of the 30 right now — and at least they have something. In some of the other ballparks, once you're in, you're in."

Orioles vice president of communications and marketing Greg Bader said the team has received minimal feedback, with more compliments than criticisms, since the Maryland Stadium Authority announced the new policy in February.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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