Ida G Ruben

Vote nears on Md. smoking ban

Gov. Martin O'Malley has joined lobbying efforts for a proposed statewide smoking ban, which he has pledged to sign should the Maryland General Assembly pass the legislation.

The governor has reached out to key committee members considering the bill, spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said. The House Economic Matters and Senate Finance committees might vote today or early next week. O'Malley's involvement could tip the balance on the panels, where legislators have been roughly split on the matter, backers say.

O'Malley did not embrace a city smoking ban when he was Baltimore mayor, saying he was concerned that bars and restaurants would be hurt by competition in neighboring...