Duluth City Council: No smoking on LakewalkSmokers won’t be able to lawfully light up on the Lakewalk or in Lake Place or Leif Erikson parks anymore, thanks to a resolution passed by the Duluth City Council on Monday night.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
Smokers won’t be able to lawfully light up on the Lakewalk or in Lake Place or Leif Erikson parks anymore, thanks to a resolution passed by the Duluth City Council on Monday night.
Councilors Patrick Boyle and Jim Stauber introduced the resolution, which forbids the smoking of tobacco or other substances, such as synthetic marijuana or “bath salts,” within 6 feet of the path or parks.
Stauber said a couple of considerations prompted his support of the measure, including problems with students smoking and littering the Lakewalk behind Duluth East High School with cigarette butts and issues with patrons of the Last Place on Earth, a downtown head shop, smoking synthetic marijuana or chemical crystals sold as “bath salts,” another mind-altering product, at nearby Lake Place Park.
Councilor Sharla Gardner opposed the part of the resolution forbidding tobacco use.
“I think we’re taking this a little bit too far,” she said. “I think people ought to be able to smoke outside.”
She pointed out that there are already laws against underage smoking and littering.
But six of nine councilors voted to disallow smoking on the path and in the parks: Boyle, Stauber, Jennifer Julsrud, Dan Hartman, Linda Krug and Emily Larson.
Voting against the resolution were Gardner, Jay Fosle and Garry Krause.
Fosle, a smoker himself, said outdoor smoking ought to be allowed. He also asked, “Where’s the money going to come from to enforce this?” Fosle suggested that without consistent enforcement the resolution would have little effect on people who wish to disregard it.
Krug, a former smoker, said her mother died of cancer after 50 years of smoking, and said that whatever the city can do to discourage smoking on the Lakewalk would be a positive step. She noted that Duluth has a reputation as being a place for healthy outdoor recreation, and creating a smoke-free path would only bolster that image.
Boyle noted that 5,500 Minnesotans per year die from smoking-related illnesses each year. He said that providing medical care to those dying smokers costs the equivalent of about $611 per household each year.