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Committee votes to ban smoking on beaches, sports fields, other public places

Toronto’s parks and environment committee has voted unanimously to ban smoking on beaches, the Toronto Island ferry area and sports fields.

The issue goes to city council for final approval next month.

Beaches-East York Coun. Mary Margaret McMahon said it’s not only a health issue, it’s a litter issue.

“And I know from doing oodles of cleanup in our ward and I’m home to three beaches … the big beach! Chronically what we find are cigarette butts.”

A report from the medical officer of health and the head of the parks department recommends smoking be completely banned within nine metres of the boundaries of sports fields when they’re in use, including all baseball diamonds, outdoor ice rinks, football and soccer fields, basketball, volleyball and tennis courts and lawn bowling areas.

The report also recommends the ban be implemented on all 11 beaches, skateboard parks, ski hills, swimming pools, picnic shelters and theatre spaces operated by the Parks and Recreation department.

“I don’t want my child to be subject to second-hand smoke or their cigarettes while they’re playing in a park,” parks committee chair Giorgio Mammoliti said.