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The difference, however, is that for Harford and Kent counties, the restrictions came out of administrative action rather than new laws. In Harford County, the Department of Administration handed down restrictions that banned smoking on county property. At a Kent County commissioners meeting, County Administrator Susanne Hayman mentioned citizen complaints about smoking on county property, and commissioners told her to prohibit smoking on county property and in county vehicles and eliminate smoking breaks during the day.

Ms. Turner said county councils have the authority to regulate what happens on their property. What’s interesting, she added, was that “taxpayers have a stake in the way property is managed, and that can go both ways.”

“If they’re a taxpayer who is a smoker, they could feel inconvenienced at not being able to smoke on county property,” Ms. Turner said.

On the other hand, people visiting the county building are likely doing so because they are required — such as going to pay taxes — and they are “being exposed to second-hand smoke.”

Bruce Bereano, a candy and tobacco wholesaler representative, sees it differently.

“You’re creating a distinction of citizens,” Mr. Bereano said. “It’s just terrible. It’s so offensive.”

Smoking is a legal, lawful activity, the Annapolis-based attorney said, and people have the right to do it.

“I guess if you’re from Montgomery County,” he added, “you have to go to the moon to smoke.”