• 22.12.2012 Berryville Bust Part Of $33M Cigarettes Sting

    A Federal Grand Jury sitting in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Harrisonburg has indicted dozens of individuals for conspiring to traffic in contraband cigarettes, money laundering and a variety of related charges.The defendants were charged by the grand jury in four separate indictments returned under seal on February 17, 2011, August 3, 2011 and October 6, 2011. Those indictments were unsealed earlier this week following the arrest and initial court appearances by the defendants.The charges are the result of a three-year investigation by the United...

  • 20.11.2012 Covenant Kicks The Habit

    Amy Olson-Yarbrough was tired of being a prisoner to tobacco."I decided I didn't want cigarettes to control my life any more," Olson-Yarbrough said. "When you're a smoker you have to figure out where you're going to be able to smoke cigarettes next, how long until my next cigarette, how am I going to hide it from my kids . . ."So, on Nov. 23, 2010, Olson-Yarbrough - a pack-a-day smoker who had been at it for close to two decades - quit smoking cigarettes.Now, Olson-Yarbrough can't stand anything about it."The smell of buy cigarettes really nauseates me," she said. "I'll never go back to...

  • 18.10.2012 No-smoking Policy For New Hires

    Should smokers who want to work for the county be forced to sign a pledge they will quit smoking cigarettes — and then be required to follow through before starting work?Should they pay more for their health-care coverage if they don’t keep the pledge, or decline to sign it?Is it discrimination for government not to consider smokers to fill open positions?The Muscatine County Board of Supervisors decided to have the county’s Health and Safety Committee study the issue, which was brought up by Sheriff Dave White at the Board’s regular meeting Monday.White told the Board he’s heard...

  • 10.09.2012 Court Upholds Big Award In Smoker's Case

    A state appeals court upheld $13.8 million in punitive damages against Philip Morris on Wednesday for the addiction and death of a 45-year cigarette smoker, saying the company's decades of concealment and lies about the dangers of its products were "extremely reprehensible."In a 2-1 ruling, the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles affirmed a verdict by a Los Angeles County jury in the case of Betty Bullock of Newport Beach (Orange County). Bullock had started smoking cigarettes Marlboros in 1956, at age 17, and quit in 2001 after she was diagnosed with lung cancer, two years...

  • 09.09.2012 California Court Approves 16:1 Punitive Damage Award

    Corporate America has pushed hard for years to hold the line on punitive damages, with some successThe Supreme Court has ruled that excessively high punitive damage awards, designed to punish defendants for particularly egregious behavior, can violate the Due Process clause. And the California Supreme Court had held that punitive damages typically should not be more than nine to ten times the size of damages awarded to compensate injured parties.But in a smoking cigarettes case against Philip Morris, a California appellate court yesterday signed off on punitive damages that were 16 times...

County Expands Smoking Ban

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, but not in a multiple-family residential dwelling or certain playgrounds in Montgomery County after August 12.

On Tuesday the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously in favor of a county-wide proposed smoking cigarettes ban in indoor common areas of multiple family residences. An amendment to the bill also bans smoking cigarettes with 25 feet of playground areas on privately owned property that has a primary purpose to serve the residents of more than one dwelling.

The chief sponsor the smoking cigarettes ban, Councilmember George Leventhal is also the chair of the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee. “This regulation will not deny anyone their rights, but it will protect the rights of people who do not want to be impacted by second-hand smoke cigarettes – particularly children,” Leventhal explained. “People who live in multi-family communities do not have the choice to easily avoid the second-hand smoke cigarettes created by others. Now those who want to avoid smoke cigarettes in the common areas of the place they live will be able to do so.”

The Center for Tobacco Regulation spoke in favor of the ban and a representative from the Maryland Association of Tobacco and Candy Distributors spoke against it at a May 5 public hearing.

Councilmember Phil Andrews said of the adopted ban, “Like the ban on smoking cigarettes in eating and drinking establishments this is meant to protect non-smokers and children from the dangerous health effects of second hand smoke. It’s not to protect smokers from themselves.”

Councilmember Roger Berliner co-sponsored the bill that would prohibit smoking cigarettes in areas like hallways, laundry rooms, and lobbies of areas that house multiple families like apartment buildings and condos. The ban would also include a prohibition on smoking cigarettes within 25 feet of a playground.

A playground area is considered to be any outdoor area of a multiple family domicile with play equipment intended to be used by minors. This equipment includes but not limited to swing sets, slides, sandboxes, playhouses, and monkey bars. This ban would not apply to playgrounds owned by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

The regulation would also not apply to homeowners with playground equipment in their private yard.