MPRB approves expanded Tobacco Use policy

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) passed a resolution approving a new Tobacco Policy at its March 8, 2017 MPRB Board of Commissioners meeting.

The new policy has the MPRB joining nearly 30 other metro area park systems in becoming completely tobacco free by prohibiting the use of all tobacco products on Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board lands and in Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board owned and/or operated facilities.

“We are excited to join with dozens of other local park systems in becoming completely tobacco-free,” said Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Superintendent Jayne Miller. “This policy supports our mission to promote healthy lifestyles and environments for residents and park visitors across Minneapolis, and will contribute to many park patrons’ use and enjoyment of our system. I also want to thank Commissioner Steffanie Musich for talking a lead role in developing this important policy.”

The Park Board’s previous Smoking/Tobacco Use Policy, approved in 2009, did not address the use of chewing tobacco or electronic cigarettes (e-cigs). The new tobacco policy expands to address both of these uses as well.  The new policy also honors traditional Native American spiritual or cultural ceremonies.

The new policy defines “tobacco product” as any product that is made from or derived from tobacco, or that contains nicotine, that is intended for human consumption or is likely to be consumed. This includes cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff, electronic delivery devices and any component or accessory used in the consumption of a tobacco product, such as filters, rolling papers, pipes, and substances used in electronic delivery devices, whether or not they contain nicotine.  The policy does not include use of tobacco for a traditional Native American spiritual or cultural ceremony if approved by the MPRB.

The policy was approved by the Recreation Committee and moved to, and passed, the full Board on March 8. The policy will take effect or May 8, two months after approval by the full Board.

The first year of the policy’s implementation would focus on educating the public about the policy. As part of its public awareness efforts, the MPRB will post tobacco-free signs on park properties across the system. After the first year, violators of the policy may be asked to leave park property.

A July 2016 survey of Minneapolis residents conducted by Morris Leatherman for the Minneapolis Healthier Parks initiative: found that:

  • 67 percent had been exposed to secondhand smoke in Minneapolis parks
  • 69 percent had seen tobacco litter on park property
  • 60 percent supported or strongly supported Minneapolis parks being 100 percent tobacco-free at all times