Banning Smokers From Duluth Waterfront, Parks?

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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DULUTH, Minn. (WCCO) – The state’s first city to ban smoking in all bars and restaurants wants to take the war against tobacco one step further.

The Duluth city council will soon be voting on a proposed ordinance that would ban smokers from lighting up outside along its popular waterfront and parks.

The idea is gaining support from smokers and non-smokers alike.

Duluth councilman Patrick Boyle is talking tourism.
The city’s lake walk, connecting Canal Park to Leif Erikson and Lake Place are among its greatest draws. He and others on the council want to keep it that way.

“If we can prevent cigarette butts on the sidewalks, or people jogging with their strollers from breathing in second-hand smoke, it makes for a more pleasant visit,” Boyle said.

The ordinance they’re considering would ban outdoor smoking and chewing tobacco from a several mile stretch of lakeshore. Visitors to this city garden would inhale roses, not cigarettes.

The ban is motivated not just for the benefit of tourists, but also the city’s budget. Its health care costs jumped by 15 percent.

That’s another $1 million from Duluth taxpayers. The outdoor ban would keep smokers like Donna Baranczyk from lighting up. But it’s logic she supports.

“I would respect that in any place,” she said.

The Duluth city council will vote on the measure Sept. 10.

If it passes with little opposition, they’ll likely look at extending it to all parks city-wide.

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