he following were among actions taken at Tuesday's meeting of the Montgomery County Council. For more information, call 251-7900.

SMOKING SECTIONS -- The council, meeting as the county Board of Health, voted 4 to 3 not to extend restaurant smoking restrictions, now in effect in some parts of the county, to all of the county's cities and towns.

As a result of the decision, the council will continue to allow the governments of individual incorporated municipalities to decide whether or not to restrict smoking in restaurants.

State law allows the council to meet as the board of health to decide health issues of concern to the county. Unlike regular legislation that governs unincorpated areas, board of health resolutions may be enforced in all of the county's cities and towns.

In March, the council approved a bill requiring that nonsmoking areas be designated in all eating or drinking establishments that seat 50 or more people. That law now requires that signs be posted in the establishment to advertise such nonsmoking areas. The law also requires that patrons be asked whether they prefer to sit in a smoking or nonsmoking section.

The law specifically requires that at least half of the dining area in a restaurant or at least 25 percent of the total seating area in a bar -- even if it is part of a restaurant -- be designated as a nonsmoking area.

The resolution, which included the same provisions, led dissenting council members to argue that the individual municipalities should be allowed to come up with smoking regulations of their own.

The cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg currently are considering such bills.

Eight of the county's 16 municipalities already have voted to abide by the current county law. In the others, there are no restaurants or the establishments are too small to be affected by the county law.

The Montgomery County Chapter of the Maryland Municipal League opposed the resolution and questioned the council's authority to debate the smoking resolution, saying that it was not strictly a health issue.

Sanford W. Daily, Gaithersburg city manager and a representative of the Municipal League, opposed the council resolution and said the city plans to pass its own smoking regulations.

Also at the meeting, council member Bruce Adams said, "We need to protect the integrity of their {the municipalities'} legislative processes."

TANNING SALONS -- The council, in another action while meeting as the board of health, unanimously approved a resolution forcing tanning salons within municipalities to register with the county health department.

The salons also must provide customers with protective eyewear and warn them of the risks of tanning equipment by posting signs and issuing written statements. And the operators must ensure that the customers sign the statements indicating that they have read the warnings about the potential ill effects of using the tanning equipment.

The legislation is believed by county officials to be the first of its kind in the nation.

In February, the council passed the resolution as a regular legislative bill. As such, it was not applicable within incorporated cities and towns. The resolution passed Tuesday extends that legislation to those areas.

TRIAL RETIREMENT -- The council introduced a bill sponsored by council member William E. Hanna Jr. that would allow some county employes to apply for a trial retirement period not to exceed nine months.

The bill would allow employes considering retirement to make a more informed decision by letting them actually experience retirement.

Under the proposal, employes who take trial retirement would be allowed to return to their former position or an equivalent position without losing any of their former benefits.

The bill does not apply to elected officials, nonmerit appointed officials, employes for whom retirement is required or those covered by collective-bargaining agreements.