Personal Injury Blog

Ocean City Goes Smoke Free

By Matthew Tievsky

On Tuesday, August 26th the Ocean City, Maryland, Town Council voted to draft a law restricting smoking on its beaches and boardwalks. The restrictions will go into effect this spring on May 1st. The Town Council is currently considering partial restrictions, which would limit smoking to designated areas. 150 metal cigarette receptacles would be placed at all street beach entrances and certain points along the boardwalk. Smoking would only be allowed within 50 feet of these receptacles. Violators would potentially face a written warning or a citation with a fine ranging anywhere from $25 to $1,000. The high end of the fine is for the "worse-case scenario" where people have multiple violations.Smoking Ban

This law does not ban e-cigarettes, rather it only bans tobacco based products. Ocean City Communications Manager, Jessica Waters, says that the city's concern is "first and foremost environmental." She also says "we certainly have the health concerns about smoke and second-hand smoke, but we don't want to alienate our visitors."

Ocean City Town Council Member Brent Ashley voted against the ordinance because he believes that it does not go far enough. He points to Rehoboth as a successful example of a complete ban, which was implemented this past spring. He says, "I think vacationers are looking for pristine beaches. To me it's confusing and convoluted. What my colleagues are talking about is making it a partially pristine beach." Mr. Ashley believes that the city will eventually adopt a full ban and achieve a fully pristine beach. He does not believe that the city should waste money adopting a moderate approach in the meantime because the cost for the receptacles and new signage is estimated to be $17,000 - $20,000.

In a poll regarding smoking restrictions in Ocean City, 60% were in favor of implementing restrictions. While the city's steps towards smoking restrictions are a move in the right direction, hopefully the city will eventually adopt a complete ban on not only tobacco based products but also on e-cigarettes.