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MoCo Parks are Now Completely Tobacco Free



As of last Friday, July 1, all Montgomery County parks and facilities are tobacco free.

Montgomery Parks has adopted regulations in accordance with the Maryland legislation passed in October 2015 to prohibit smoking of lighted tobacco products in its nonexempt parks and facilities. In addition, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is prohibiting the usage of e-cigarettes, vapors or any smokeless tobacco products indoors and in designated outdoor areas.

Montgomery Parks joins a growing number of Maryland municipalities, as well as city parks, public beaches, college campuses and private venues across the country, to address the concerns of tobacco use in public spaces.

As of July 1, 2016, the following rules regarding the use of smoking and tobacco products will go into effect:

- Visitors and staff will not be permitted to smoke a cigarette, cigar, pipe or any other lighted tobacco in outdoor parks or venues or indoor facilities.

- Visitors and staff will not be permitted to use e-cigarettes or vaping devices in all indoor facilities and designated outdoor areas.

- Visitors and staff will not be permitted to use any smokeless products such as chewing tobacco or snuff in all indoor facilities and designated outdoor areas.

The ban covers all public parks and facilities within the jurisdiction of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, with the exception of designated facilities used to raise revenue. Current exemptions in the Montgomery Parks system include event/wedding venues, golf courses, and residential rental homes. The policy applies to all park patrons as well as M-NCPPC employees.

“The purpose of the legislation is to preserve and improve the health, safety and comfort of people in our public parks and facilities,” said Montgomery Parks Director Mike Riley, “and to provide and maintain a healthy work environment for all employees.”

Park patrons who do not adhere to the new policy will receive a warning from The Maryland-National Capital Park Police for the first offense and a $25 fine for subsequent infractions.

File Photo

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