Park leader may seek outdoor smoking ban

Share this:
September 27, 2004 // UPDATED 4:10 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Scott Russell
Scott Russell

With area smoking bans catching fire, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioner Marie Hauser has a new one to add: Tobacco-Free Parks.

Hauser received a resident complaint about people smoking near the Powderhorn Park wading pool in South Minneapolis, she said during a Sept. 15 Park Board meeting.

The city is going to outlaw smoking in bars for public health reasons, she said after the meeting, "What about children in the wading pools?"

Hauser is concerned about kids breathing the secondhand smoke, about toddlers finding cigarette butts on the ground and putting them in their mouths and generally about children picking up bad habits, she said. Hauser, a children's mental health nurse at Fairview Riverside, called a parks smoking ban a public health issue.

She said she would begin exploring the idea of banning all tobacco products -- smoking and chewing tobacco -- in all outdoor areas of city parks. Such a ban would include Downtown's Elliot and Loring parks, as well as parkland along the riverfront.

"We have to explore the topic," said Hauser, who is running for the City Council's open 8th Ward seat in 2005. "I don't want to create a law that can't be enforced."