Food and Facilities Licensing
Environmental Health - Smoking Laws
This unit enforces the regulations associated with smoking.
The Montgomery County Board of Health Regulation 17-210 effective August 12, 2011 bans:
- Smoking in common indoor areas of multi-unit residential dwellings
- Smoking within 25 feet of a playground area on privately owned property that has a primary purpose of serving residents of more than one dwelling unit.
- Owners/persons in control of such common areas and playgrounds are required to post at least one sign in each common area or playground area prohibiting smoking. The signs must include the words "No Smoking"; the international symbol for no smoking; or both the words "No Smoking" and the international symbol
To download and print a "No Smoking" sign, please click here.
Landlord and Management Companies: To download a sample notification letter to tenants click here.
A person who violates this regulation is subject to the following penalties:
- A written reprimand for first violation;
- Civil penalty of $100 for the second violation;
A civil penalty of $500 for the third violation; and
- A civil penalty of $1,000 per violation for each subsequent violation
Complaints regarding possible violations MUST be submitted in writing. Click here for complaint form.
Compliance questions: Call 240-777-3831.
The Montgomery County law prohibiting smoking in all sections of Eating and Drinking Establishments became effective on October 9, 2003. The law is designed to protect both staff and patrons from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.
Chapter 24-9 prohibits smoking in certain public places, such as: elevators, health care facilities, schools, other education facilities, County government buildings, theaters, movie theaters, rail transit stations, businesses or organizations open to the public, retail stores, banks, offices, factories, eating and drinking establishments, restrooms, enclosed auditoriums, concert halls, and lecture halls. Signs prohibiting smoking must be posted conspicuously at each entrances to a public place covered by this section.
Compliance consists of two elements:
Posting appropriate "no smoking" signs.
- Signage Requirements: Signs are to be posted at each entrance stating: "No Smoking by Order of the Montgomery County Code § 24-9. Enforced by the Department of Health and Human Services."
- Minimum dimensions: 6 1/2" high x 11" wide with "No Smoking" in letters at least 3/4" high, and "by Order of the Montgomery County Code § 24-9. Enforced by the Department of Health and Human Services" in letters at least 3/8" high.
- The international "No Smoking" symbol may be used as a substitute for the "No Smoking" phrase.
- The sign must be of a contrasting color from the background.
- Variation to the sign must be pre-approved by the Department of Health and Human Services. You may submit requests in writing for alternative wording to the Office of Licensure and Regulatory Services, 255 Rockville Pike, 1st Floor, Rockville, Maryland 20850 or fax to 240-777-3088 or email to Licregmail@montgomerycountymd.gov
Refusing to serve a patron who violates the law while in a public facility.
- Service Requirement: The owner or management of an establishment or covered area must refuse to serve or seat anyone who smokes in a prohibited area and must ask them to leave if he/she continues to smoke. We suggest that the initial contact with the smoker is to remind them that smoking is prohibited as mandated by County law and ask them to extinguish it immediately.
Download No Smoking Signs here
The fine for violating the law is $50 for the first offense. A patron as well as the establishment can be fined for violating the law. The Department of Health and Human Services may suspend the license of an Eating and Drinking Establishment (Food Service Facility) for up to three days for failure to maintain properly posted signage or for permitting patrons to smoke in their establishments.
Montgomery County Code § 24 - Health and Sanitation
- Chapter 24-9: Smoking in Public Places. Enforcement by Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Licensure and Regulatory Services, 240-777-3986.
- Chapter 24-9B: Availability of Tobacco Products to Minors. Enforcement by Montgomery County Board of Liquor License Commissioners, 240-777-1999
- Chapter 24-9C: Distribution of Tobacco Products to Minors. Enforcement by Montgomery County Board of Liquor License Commissioners, 240-777-1999
- Chapter 24-9D: Tobacco Product - Placements. Enforcement by Montgomery County Board of Liquor License Commissioners, 240-777-1999
Code of Maryland Regulation (COMAR) 10.15.03.05 B (3) - Food Service Facilities
Code of Maryland Regulation (COMAR) 10.15.03.05 B (3) - Use of Tobacco During Food Preparation. Enforcement by Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Licensure and Regulatory Services, 240-777-3986.
- Code of Maryland Regulation (COMAR) 09.12.23 - Smoking in Enclosed Workplaces. Enforcement by Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH), 410-803-2837
Office of Licensure and Regulatory Services
255 Rockville Pike, 1st Floor
Rockville, MD 20850
Office Number 240-777-3986
Fax Number 240-777-3088
- Diseases Caused by and Related to Tobacco
- Tips for Giving Up Smoking
- MOSH (Maryland Occupational Safety and Health) Website
- Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund Program