The province has announced that beginning summer 2014, all public beaches and playgrounds will be smoke-free.

“Our beaches are internationally recognized as some of the best in the country. Making our public park beaches smoke free is about continuing to protect these natural treasures,” said Mackintosh. “Smoking litter is a nuisance to park users and the environment. Like many other parents, I want to stop cigarette butts from ending up in our waterways, along our beaches and in the playgrounds where we take our kids.”

Litter from tobacco products has been proven to be toxic, slow to decompose and costly to manage. Research shows littered cigarette butts leach toxic chemicals and can take decades to breakdown, Mackintosh said.

Manitoba is the first jurisdiction in Canada to make public beaches and playgrounds smoke free in all of its parks, though some American states including California and Hawaii have had smoke-free parks and beaches for years.

Park officials will enforce the smoke-free policy with $299 fines for violators, though for the first year they will only issue warnings. Smoke-free signs and cigarette disposal receptacles will be ordered and installed in preparation for 2014.