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MoCo Smoking Ban Praised On Anniversary

Montgomery officials are celebrating the four-year anniversary of the county's smoking ban, saying the law hasn't harmed the restaurant business and has led to similar laws elsewhere.

The District, and Charles, Howard and Prince George's counties in Maryland have banned smoking in restaurants since Montgomery enacted its law. In February, Maryland will ban smoking in restaurants across the state.

"Thousands of restaurant workers and hundreds of thousands of diners have benefited from the measure, which protects them from exposure to carcinogenic second-hand smoke," said Montgomery County Councilmember Phil Andrews, (D-Gaithersburg), who sponsored the law, in a written statement. "There will be no going back to the time of smoke-filled bars and restaurants. "

Montgomery County restaurant sales tax receipts have risen since the law took effect on Oct. 9, 2003, increasing more than 22 percent in the past four years, Andrews said in his statement.

"Not only have sales at existing restaurants continued to rise over the past four years, but many new restaurants have opened during this period throughout the County," he said.

"The law is working exactly as intended, protecting restaurant workers and diners at no cost to taxpayers. Enforcement is not an issue, because of the law's strong public support."

County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), a longtime supporter ofr the smoking ban, who is traveling in Israel, issued a statement saying he was "proud that Montgomery County has led the way in protecting the health of restaurant workers and patrons."

By Miranda Spivack  |  October 9, 2007; 2:19 PM ET
Categories:  Miranda Spivack  
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