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Proposed Smoking Ban To Go Before Mpls Park Board

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minneapolis Park Board is looking at snuffing out smoking in all city parks.

Currently, people are allowed to smoke in designated areas, a hundred feet away from playgrounds, pools and beaches.

Commissioners will consider changing these current restrictions on smokers to an all-out ban, which includes e-cigarettes.

"I'm all for no cigarettes in the parks," Minneapolis resident Jarett McDonald said.

McDonald and his wife Kate bring their daughter Ellie to Loring Park, sometimes twice a day.

They hope the board goes through with it.

"I think it's great, even as far as litter. You go a hundred yards out from all these play areas and still see cigarettes all over the place," McDonald said.

Complaints about litter are part of the reason behind the proposed ban.

"The vast majority of it is for health reasons," Parks commissioner Liz Wielinski said.

Wielinski says ever since they put restrictions on smoking at parks they've gotten complaints that they didn't go far enough.

Along with cigarettes, she says, the ban would include e-cigarettes.

"It's like the movies where they show people smoking. It's just a bad example for kids," Wielinski said.

The real thing or not, Linda Canzanella who is a smoker says a full ban seems extreme especially because it's outside.

"It just seems a little bit over the top.  And together with, again, lot of the moralizing that people engage in with smoking, it's also irritating for that reason," Canzanella said.

The Minneapolis Park Board will consider the proposed smoking ban at its meeting the first week in June.

If the commissioners give it a thumbs up, folks in Minneapolis could see this go in to affect at the end of June.

Commissioner Wielinski says at first it would like be a policy, and within a year or so they would like to make it an ordinance so people who smoke in the park, or use e-cigarettes, could be ticketed for doing so.

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