Minneapolis puts off vote to ban smoking in parks

by Tyler Gieseke

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will wait to decide whether to ban smoking in city parks after questions about enforcing the ban surfaced at a discussion late Tuesday, the Star Tribune reported.

The board decided to postpone a final decision after the discussion, which came about a month before the start date of a new University of Minnesota policy that prohibits tobacco use on the Twin Cities, Duluth, Rochester and Crookston campuses.

Under current Minneapolis code, no smoking is permitted within 100 feet of playgrounds, pools or beaches, WCCO reported, and the Star Tribune said smokers who violate that code could be kicked out.

But a provision in the proposed ban that would have allowed smokers to be removed for smoking in a city park was deleted before the board's final vote, the Star Tribune reported.

"Enforcement tools are weaker than the current policies,” Commissioner Brad Bourn told the Star Tribune. “The policies that we currently have, have a provision for removing people from parks.”

Commissioner John Erwin said he thought most people would follow the ban even without a threat of eviction, according to the Star Tribune.

"We should not go around giving people tickets," he told the Star Tribune.