WHETHER OR NOT you think it's a good idea, it is getting harderto find a place to light a cigarette except out in the open.
Now the anti-smoking forces are closing in on local apartment buildings. Several in the Baltimore metro area operated by Signature Management Inc. have banned smoking in all public areas -- not in the apartments themselves, but everywhere else.
Acting on its own initiative, Signature Management has restricted smoking at the Sail Cloth Factory, Greenehouse and Harbor Hill apartment houses and this month added Tindeco Wharf Apartments to the list. Published reports out of Washington about the health hazards of secondary smoke, not tenant complaints, stimulated the action.
As far as Signature Management officials know, theirs are the only apartment complexes in the Baltimore area with a no-smoking policy, though there may be restrictions in the community rooms of some other apartment buildings.
Tenants have responded favorably, with not a single objection so far, according to Signature Management officials. In fact, a marketing aide said, prospective tenants consider the no-smoking policy as a positive factor.
Ash trays are disappearing inside these apartment buildings, and urns are being placed at entrances asking visitors to snuff out their cigarettes when they arrive.
There's been no thought of prohibiting smoking inside apartments, however. That would be too hard to enforce, officials say.
Which raises the question: How sensitive can smoke detectors be made?
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ALL-STAR GAME note: One group of diehard baseball fans, seated behind the home plate backstop at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, kept wondering who this tall, genial red-haired fellow was a couple rows back.
Folks were running up to him asking for his autograph before the All-Star game. Yet no one in the group could figure out which celebrity he might be.
A Washington politician? A Hall of Fame great? A TV personality? A friend of Michael Jordan?
One member of the group managed to ask for his autograph. That didn't help solve the puzzle: his John Hancock was unintelligible.
Finally, an intrepid soul approached the mystery guest and inquired directly, "Excuse me, but who are you?"
The name meant nothing to her, or to the others seated around her. They did figure out, though, that he was an actor and that had had a supporting role in the baseball movie, "Bull Durham."
At least there was no mistaking TV-movie actor Tom Selleck in the front row behind the screen.
He was the big guy with the mustache who got cheered every time he turned around.