In two weeks the air at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore will be cleaner for both the animals that call it home and their human visitors.
The Maryland Zoo will become a smoke-free facility as of July 1, according to a news release. The new policy bans the use of all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and e-cigarettes, on zoo grounds.
Smoking already was prohibited inside zoo buildings by the Clean Indoor Air Act of Maryland.
“Providing a quality experience for our visitors is a priority for the zoo, and exposure to second hand smoke has recently been the number one complaint,” said Don Hutchinson, president and CEO of the zoo. “Given the public smoking bans in public areas and workplaces, we have decided to establish and maintain a smoke-free environment here at the zoo.”
Smokers will be allowed to leave the zoo grounds to do so, and allowed to re-enter. A designated smoking area will be established outside the main gate to the right of the entrance.
More than two-thirds of all zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums are smoke-free.
“Families visiting The Maryland Zoo are engaging in nature-focused, educational and fun experiences,” Hutchinson said. “It is our hope that these experiences will be improved by this new smoke-free policy as we continue to work towards enhanced environments for both visitors and animals alike.”