MINNEAPOLIS - A change is coming to Minneapolis parks this spring. The city is banning tobacco products starting May 8.
The city's previous policy, which was approved in 2009, did not include chewing tobacco and vaping, but the new rules includes them both.
For the first year, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board will educate the public through social media, signage at parks and on its website. Then, next year, if people are caught breaking the rules they may be asked to leave a park.
Tyrize Cox, assistant superintendent of recreation, said the board worked with organizations and surveyed Minneapolis residents last year. It found that a majority of people surveyed were in favor of a ban.
She said the new rules will allow staff to spend more time beautifying parks, rather than cleaning up cigarette butts.
"We want to make sure that as children are visiting parks or playing sports or doing any number of activites that they are seeing healthy behavior being modeled by everyone around," said Cox.
People we talked to, even someone who vapes, supports the ban.
"I think it's a good thing especially places like this that are designed for kids to play and hang out," said Lynn Hoffman, of Minneapolis.
"As a former smoker I understand people wanting to do it everywhere and anywhere but being on a beach or a public space that find it offensive or don't want it to be there I understand it being better to not have people smoking," said Jeff McCachren, of Minneapolis.
Besides parks, the ban includes Minneapolis swimming pools, lakes, golf courses and arenas.