People Smoking in Their Own Homes Faced Fines

By National Center for Public Policy Research | July 7, 2008 | 8:21pm EDT

(Editor's Note: The following is the 92nd of 100 stories regarding government regulation from the book Shattered Dreams, written by the National Center for Public Policy Research. will publish an additional story each day.)

Residents of Montgomery County, Md., were threatened with a fine if the smoke from cigarettes used within the bounds of their own home offended neighbors. Montgomery County Executive Douglas Duncan eventually vetoed the measure, which was approved by the Montgomery County Council in November of 2001. The measure would have fined residents $750 for violations of the new regulation. It stated that if cigarette smoke should waft into a neighbor's home through an open window or door, neighbors could complain to Montgomery County's Department of Environmental Protection. Smokers - and, in some cases, landlords or condominium associations - that failed to provide proper ventilation could be fined $750 per occurrence.

The original attempt to control indoor air quality standards was designed so regulators could enforce complaints involving carbon monoxide, paint or glue odors and mold. If passed, this measure would have added tobacco smoke to the same classification system as asbestos, radon, molds and pesticides. County Council Member Michael Subin, who voted against the measure, said: "If this isn't Big Brother putting their nose under your tent, I don't know what is. What else are y'all going to start regulating in my home?"

Source: The Washington Post

Copyright 2003, National Center for Public Policy Research

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