By Brian Schultz
If having a cigarette on the beach is something you enjoy, you’ll have to butt out by next summer — at least in provincial parks.
Manitoba will be the first jurisdiction in Canada to roll out a smoke-free policy on public beaches and playgrounds beginning in the summer of 2014. Besides the health risks from second-hand smoke, the province says litter from tobacco products has been proven to be toxic, slow to decompose and costly to manage.
“Our beaches are internationally recognized as some of the best in the country. Making our public park beaches smoke free is about continuing to protect these natural treasures,” said Water Stewardship and Conservation Gord Mackintosh. “Smoking litter is a nuisance to park users and the environment. Like many other parents, I want to stop cigarette butts from ending up in our waterways, along our beaches and in the playgrounds where we take our kids.”
Smoke-free signs and cigarette disposal receptacles will eventually be installed in designated areas. Violators who ignore them will be fined $299.
California and Hawaii have similar smoke-free regulations on their beaches in the U.S.