MARYLAND

Montgomery County Council to consider extension of smoking ban

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Smoking is already banned in most public places in Maryland, but now lawmakers want to take it a step further.

And for one Montgomery County councilmember, it's personal.

A year ago, Councilmember Nancy Floreen was battling breast cancer.

"If I knew there was something I could do to prevent people from going through what I went through with breast cancer, I would certainly jump right on it," she says.

And with new legislation, she hopes to protect people like her cousin, a pack-a-day smoker, fighting tonsil cancer.

"Seeing it up close and personal really causes you to consider what you can do for the public at large," Floreen says.

She's pushing to ban smoking on all county property, such as parking garages and outside county jails.

Bethesda resident Hillary Hurlbutt supports the idea.

"Nowadays its kinda where the trend is going," Hurlbutt says. "And when you're out in public and you smell smoke, it's like, you forgot what that was like."

That's because Maryland anti-smoking laws are already strict. Four years ago, the state banned smoking in all enclosed public areas like bars and many outdoor areas like playgrounds.

James Kibutha of Silver Spring is a smoker. And he supports Floreen's proposal. He says he's willing to give up some personal freedom to protect others' personal space.

"When you smoke, it doesn't just affect you, it affects many people around you," Kibutha says.

Floreen plans to present the proposal later this month. She hopes it will be a path to better health.

"I think it does become personal. you change your behavior because of facts and reality," Floreen says.

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