Ocean City Maryland Public Park Smoking Ban

Northside Park in Ocean City, and others Now Ban Smoking
Northside Park in Ocean City, MD and other Parks Now Ban Smoking

The Mayor and City Council voted unanimously on first reading, with no discussion, to ban smoking in public parks and playgrounds.
The ordinance defines “environmental tobacco smoke” as the complex mixture formed from escaping smoke of a burning tobacco product or smoke exhaled by the smoker. “Smoking” means the burning of a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, or any other matter or substance that contains tobacco.

The ordinance reads, “It is the intent of the Mayor and City Council of Ocean City to protect the public and its employees from involuntary exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in certain areas open to the public.”
Public parks include Ocean Bowl Skate Park, Ocean City Tennis Center at 61st Street and Coastal Highway, and playgrounds in the following parks, Bayside Park (aka Downtown Recreation Complex), Robin Park, Little Salisbury Park, Northside Park, Gorman Park, and North Surf Park.
Any person who violates the law “shall be subject to ejection from the public park and be subject to a municipal infraction of up to $500.00, which can be issued by an employee of the Department of recreation and parks in addition to enforcers listed in this code.”
The smoking ban at public parks and playgrounds was originally discussed last December during a public hearing to ban smoking on Ocean City’s boardwalk, beach, and public parks. The council voted not to ban smoking on the Boardwalk or the beach. Instead, council officials decided to create designated smoking stations as an “educational step” for smokers.
During the hearing, Councilman Joe Hall said as far as the “kiddy parks” are concerned he proposed smoking be prohibited in those areas. He made a motion to create voluntary smoking areas on the beach and Boardwalk and restrict smoking in public parks. Councilman Doug Cymek seconded the motion and the council voted unanimously to approve it.

20 Responses

  • It would be different, if you could reason with the anti-smoking zealots…,
    but you can’t. They are convinced that they are on a mission to save us all
    and will turn a deaf ear to any ideas but their own – or at least what they
    have been told is fact. Individual freedoms are trampled in the name of the
    ‘public good.’ It didn’t work with alcohol or guns, so now they are after
    tobacco. It’s the tyranny of the masses at work that presume to dictate choices.

  • ‘officials decided to create designated smoking stations as an “educational step” for smokers.’
    That just makes me angry, its like calling all smokers stupid and they are going to educate us. Fred’s comment is perfect and says all that needs to be said.

  • This isn’t about public health.
    It’s about casting smoking as an “anti-social” activity, not unlike drinking from a bottle of whiskey in the park.
    Since only a dwindling minority of us engage in this anti-social behavior there will be no protest or opposition.
    Probably a decade from now there will only be a few parks where you can light up, or some parks might have smoking sections behind some bushes and a fence.
    The trend is apparent.
    First no smoking in offices, then no smoking in restaurants, then no smoking with x number of feet of store entrances, now no smoking in parks. Sidewalks are next.
    If you own a car you’re safe. If you own your home you’re safe. You’ll still be able to smnoke at home, and in your backyard but maybe not on the sidewalk in front of your house.
    That’s the future.

  • Saves me from ever going back for a visit. There are some places I would have liked to revisit, but since these draconian laws are ever encroaching, count me out. These places are losing business they are unaware of from prospective tourists who would do more than just add to the tax base of the local economy.

  • The smoking ban does not go far enough. I am tired of smelling the disgusting, nasty, noxious fumes. You may do what you want with your body – but not mine. Smokers do not realize how bad they smell, how people maneuver around them to get away from the smoke and how we avoid trying to step on the tossed butts on the beach. Look around at the public areas, sidewalks, streets, beautiful parks, boardwalk – cigarette litter everywhere. The littering fine should be given to all who callously toss their butts everywhere – a solution to financial woes. Just think of how much money the cities could make fining smokers from littering???????? What is the difference in tossing out trash and tossing a cigarette butt – especially a lit one! We will not even begin to get into the health hazards of second and third hand smoke – you just don’t get it!

  • Carol, thanks for offering your point of view — one that we pipe smokers often fail to appreciate. Nobody should be allowed to litter anywhere in public. That’s just plain rude — ignorant. So let’s take your suggestion and enforce existing littering laws, as opposed to banning people who are courteous enough to discard their used smoking materials properly.
    I know how unpleasant it is to stand beside someone who is emitting a smell that I don’t appreciate. It happened to me when an old lady wearing too much of an oppressive, cloying perfume got on an elevator I was in. I got seriously nauseous and almost passed out. Where are the odor police when you need them?
    On my way out of the building the down-car got crowded quickly and pinned me next to a hip-hopper with earphones blasting away so loudly that all I could hear was the annoying, sizzling, “cha-chi-chi-chi” etc. of meaningless high frequency sounds leaking from the earpieces, or maybe his nose… I dunno which. But I think we ought to ban those people too! And DON’T get me started on people having cell phone conversations on public transportation, or in public situations generally!
    As for not “getting it” on second hand smoke, haven’t you heard? The Illinois legislature, at least, is considering an “about face” on smoking bans (indoors!) at various classes of entertainment venues. You can read about it at:
    The article states, “even OSHA has established safe levels of secondhand smoke and those levels are literally thousands of times higher than normally found in bars and restaurants that allow smoking.” So outdoor second hand smoke probably isn’t hazardous enough to your health to justify draconian prohibitions. And the next time you have occasion to see a professional football game, check out the residual clouds of asphyxiating smoke produced by the opening and half-time fireworks displays. (I’ll take the smoke of a sweet Virginia/Oriental blend over that of spent ammonium perchlorate any day!)
    I’m not trying to jab you with sarcasm Carol, just trying to provide a friendly reminder that today you’re in favor of limiting my freedoms. Tomorrow, someone with more social or political clout, and alternative views, will try to limit your freedom(s). There’s enough room for cooperation and compromise on these issues, provided we all act with civility and respect for each other.
    Oh! And pick up the damned Happy Meal wrapper you left on the beach! 🙂

  • Hey, Cortez…don’t go putting down ammonium perchlorate! That smells better than a couple of really bad blends, ha ha.
    A most excellent reply. Funny, yet serious. Unfortunately, I doubt Carol will deign to respond. I hope, though, that she has read it and perhaps learned something!
    As for what’s happening in Maryland, it angers me. Apparently they’re all about shooting down rights and/or stopping new ones, they just failed to pass a bill supporting gay rights, too.
    Like so many have said before me…one less state to visit.

  • Carol is obviously one of the sheeple who just buy in to whatever they are told and has no understanding of the concept of individual rights. After all, it is all about me!

  • You pipe smokers don’t smell too bad! My husband smoked a pipe for years until the little guys were old enough to ask him to stop – he did.
    I lived with secondhand cigarette smoke until I moved away and got married. Well over 20 years not to mention probably breathed in smoke as a fetus. But that is just how it was then – totally excepted and almost expected to be a smoker. Now there is too much evidence that it is harmful. What I am objecting to is the ODOR, THE LITTER, and yes, the fact that my chest/lungs close up at the inhalation. Perfume is the same way – I do know exactly what you mean by not being able to breathe around it. But isn’t it a little better to smell something kind of sweet than to be around stale, nasty smoke odor. I have excited elevators too many times to count because someone entered who smelled horrible.
    I have volunteered at a local hospital where bypass patients have refused to stop smoking and are back for a second bypass – you only have so many veins to use to keep the blood flowing – once the legs and arms are gone – you have no veins left for the 3 bypass…..
    My father-in-law and my uncle both died of emphysema – not a nice end of life – both due to the smoking.
    My uncle died of lung cancer – due to smoking.
    Shall we discuss “third hand smoke” – carpets, walls, clothing, just think of holding a little baby with smoke on your clothes…and what they breathe in.

  • Carol, we can bandy about facts and anecdotal evidence until we’re blue in the face, and all we will have done is spend a lot of energy talking past each other while trying to score points. I’m sure that for every fact you can rally to support your opinion, I can find an equally cogent rejoinder — and vice-versa. Let’s both concede that.
    The greater issue here is about OUR freedom, and whether we have the right to tell each other, within reason, what may and may not be done. What I see developing in our society is a tyranny of the majority. That’s OK for you now; but after your group has ostracized mine, you may be surprised and dismayed to find that you have provided a precedent for some other majority — to which you do not belong.
    As a plausible example, and I’ll try not to be tedious, suppose you were raised as a meat eater, and you enjoy it. Now, during your lifetime vegan-vegetarians become the majority of the population. They can summon no end of evidence, better than yours, to prove that slaughtering animals for food is inimical to sentient beings, mostly other mammals; it is unquestionably less healthy than their lifestyle; and, as it has been my experience, they may even claim that meat eaters have an objectionable body odor. No doubt vegans have many more talking points that I’m not even aware of.
    So, on the strength of their hypothetical majority vote, they impose confiscatory, even punitive taxes on meat; they legislate disincentives for cattleman and meat producers; they prohibit transporting meat into various of their states; they ban you from public places; they make you bar meat eaters from your restaurant; and do whatever else they can, BECAUSE they can, to caste you as a pariah and villify anyone associated with the meat industry. How will you react as you slip down the slope you’ve helped to create?
    Yes, I engage in a behavior that YOU consider high risk / low reward, like surfing in the ocean with sharks, or ice skating on a frozen pond. But you don’t have the right to make lifestyle choices for me; or to use your political strength to coerce me into conformity with your beliefs. “If you can’t see that, then you have more to worry about than second hand smoke.”

  • Carol, as adults we are aware of the risks in life. I grew up with parents that smoked and yes the house smelled. Even as an occasional cigar smoker I had a hard time visiting as an adult not being use to cigarette smoke anymore. They chose to quit cigarettes of their own freewill. I chose to smoke a pipe. So what. The point is that we are free to make choices for ourselves and smoking outside away from others does not constitute a menace to society. I am truly sorry your loved ones suffered, but such is the mystery of genetics and life. We have all lost loved ones to illness and some were tobacco users and some were not. You can invoke the second and third hand smoke boogeyman all you want when speaking to children. We are adults that make informed choices and have made it a personal choice to enjoy smoking a pipe like generations before us. Many have lived a long happy life doing so. When age catches up with us and we need to change our life style that is once again, our choice. Please do not address us in this forum with your horror stories as if we are ignorant children. It is insulting to us. Life is full of risks and the peace and pleasure an occasional bowl of pipe tobacco in a favorite pipe is a risk I have chosen of my own free will. I hope you can respect that.

  • Man, Cortez, you are one well-spoken son of a gun lately. What happened to the grunts of olden times?

  • I got a new thesaurus for Christmas; and seeing as how I’m an aging retiree, I wanna get my money’s worth out of it before I kick the bucket. 🙂

  • Carol, I get more complements from the sweet smell of my tobacco than anything else.
    You should try it, you may like it.

  • “Well over 20 years not to mention probably breathed in smoke as a fetus.” Fetus’s don’t breathe… I’m just saying. Also I’m not sure I’ve ever heard someone speak about 3rd hand smoke before, since the walls and clothing don’t emit smoke and the odor and chemicals attached are probably a fraction of those your baby breathes in being pushed in a stroller down the sidewalk.

  • Well, lest you think I was just exaggerating, and paranoically predicting a dire future for everyone, let me bring to your attention — just 2 months later — a news story that developed in Illinois.
    In brief, State Senator Shane Cultra, expressing concern that 1 in 5 youths are considered obese, proposed that parents lose their $2000 income tax deduction for each dependant child whose body mass index fails to meet accepted standards. ‘It’s the parents responsibility that have obese kids,’ he said yesterday. ‘Take the tax deduction away for parents that have obese kids.’
    Now, this was apparently floated as a trial balloon to test the political waters, and within 24 hours public opinion sent the Senator back-peddling pretty franticly. (You see, when it’s THEIR dog in this fight the public at large opposes nanny-ism swiftly and vociferously.)
    The point here is that such nanny-ism is actually being contemplated; and things have spiralled to this abysmal state (excuse the pun), because the public has stood by and watched, even gloated, as smokers’ rights were being eroded. They never considered that an ugly precedent was being set, emboldening politicians with a control mindset, and it threatens all of us.