USA Today Column: Past time for MLB to ban smokeless tobacco

Use among teen athletes is rising and won’t fall until their MLB role models give it up.

By: Frank Pallone

The first pitches of the new Major League Baseball season in Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco mark the moment players there must abide by local laws that ban chewing tobacco use in ballparks. Similar restrictions in Chicago and New York will go into effect later this season. This is a first in the major leagues, and a welcome change, but it’s long past time to get chewing tobacco out of America’s pastime.

Chewing tobacco has been pervasive in the game since the rules of modern baseball were first written in 1845.

What’s different today is that the dangers are well known. The use of chewing tobacco has devastating health effects, including oral, pancreatic, and esophageal cancer. It also leads to heart and gum disease, tooth decay, and the loss of jaws, chins, cheeks and noses.

After years of suffering through a difficult and painful battle with cancer, former San Diego Padres Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn died in June 2014 of salivary gland cancer. While there’s no definitive way to pin down cause and effect, Gwynn said the cancer was located exactly where he placed his chew.

Six years ago, at a congressional hearing in Washington, I demanded that chewing tobacco be banned from baseball. That hearing was followed by multiple letters to MLB and to individual teams asking them to take action to get chewing tobacco out of the game. MLB responded to that request by proposing a ban during the last contract negotiations with the players, but the final agreement fell short.  That’s why on Monday, in letters to MLB and the MLB Players Association, I’ll once again demand that they finally ban chewing tobacco completely from the game.

Some argue that professional players are adults and chewing tobacco is a personal choice. But these players are role models and their behavior and habits are often copied by young players and fans alike.

At the 2010 congressional hearing, Dr. Gregory Connolly of the Harvard School of Public Health testified that “there can be no doubt that public use by MLB players directly contributes to youth smokeless tobacco use in the United States.”

Today, millions of teenagers and young adults in the U.S. use smokeless tobacco.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the use of smokeless tobacco by youth athletes increased from 2001 to 2013. Young athletes are almost 80 percent more likely to use smokeless tobacco products than non-athletes.

These trends will not stop until MLB players stop using chewing tobacco. It’s encouraging to see city governments in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco banning the use of chewing tobacco at ballparks in those cities. Letters posted in every clubhouse during spring training from both MLB and the MLB Players Association explained that players are expected to comply with the new laws.  It’s also encouraging that a number of players have voluntarily stopped chewing.

But it’s not enough.  We need to change the culture of baseball at all levels, and that starts at the major league level.  As Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently said, “like it or not, players are role models, and we have a platform as coaches and players.”

It’s been more than 30 years since players were first banned from smoking cigarettes in uniform and in view of the public. MLB banned chewing tobacco in the minor leagues in the early 1990s, as did the NCAA. Baseball legend Joe Garagiola, who died last month, testified at our 2010 hearing as the longtime chair of the National Spit Tobacco Education Program. He told the committee, “I would like to see the Major League players agree to the terms of the Minor League Tobacco Policy, which bans Club personnel from using and possessing tobacco products in ballparks and during team travel.”

MLB and the MLB Players Association must finally ban the use of smokeless tobacco. It’s time to get chewing tobacco out of baseball for good. That would be a home run for the health of our nation.

Rep. Frank Pallone represents New Jersey’s 6th Congressional District and is the senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions from outside writers, including our Board of Contributors. To read more columns like this, go to the Opinion front page.

ESPN: New York approves smokeless tobacco ban at sporting events

Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer

Smokeless tobacco will soon be off-limits for players and patrons at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium.

The New York City Council approved a ban on smokeless tobacco at ticketed sporting events on Tuesday afternoon by a vote of 44-3. The law is due to take effect immediately once Mayor Bill de Blasio signs the bill, which is expected to be a formality.

“Today we’re taking tobacco out of baseball in New York City,” council member Corey Johnson said. “In New York City we’ve seen smoking rates precipitously decline, but chewing tobacco use has remained steady. When athletes who are role models to children are regularly shown on TV using smokeless tobacco, that sends a harmful message.

“By allowing smokeless tobacco at the ballparks, we are sending mixed signals about the dangers of tobacco use. There may not be many baseball issues where Mets and Yankees fans can agree, but this certainly is one of them.”

Chicago last week joined San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles in enacting a similar ban.

Yankees setup man Andrew Miller said players will not picket over the issue, but he did allude to some players being addicted to the otherwise legal substance, which makes the situation tricky.

“It is what it is,” said Miller, who once chewed tobacco but says he doesn’t anymore. “I didn’t vote on it. I didn’t put it into effect. I didn’t publicly ask one way or the other for it. It is just something we are going to have to deal with. People will have to find a way to approach it and how strictly it will be enforced.”

The penalty in New York is expected to match the fine for smoking where it is prohibited in the city, roughly $100.

“There are different tobacco laws in place for multiple different states — obviously smoking and smokeless,” New York Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson said. “So it’s not something that surprises me if New York or Citi Field were to go ahead and pass something like this. The only question we have is, the guys who do it, how do they know what’s going on?

“The Players’ Association is going to provide alternatives for them. But if a player accidentally chooses to do it, will he get a citation? Will we stop the game? And will the same thing happen to the fans in attendance? That hasn’t been identified yet, so we’re still waiting to hear that.”

ESPN’s Andrew Marchand contributed to this report.

Devils Lake Park Board: Tobacco use policy to be drawn up

The Devils Lake Park Board is one step closer to solidifying guidelines for the use of tobacco products at its outdoor facilities.

By Harry Lipsiea, Devils Lake Journal Reporter

The Devils Lake Park Board is one step closer to solidifying guidelines for the use of tobacco products at its outdoor facilities.

At Monday’s regularly-scheduled meeting, the board voted unanimously to have director Terry Wallace write up a proposed policy and present it to the board for its approval.

Last month, Liz Bonney, Ramsey County Tobacco Prevention Coordinator with Lake Region District Health, brought the idea of a policy to limit areas in which tobacco products could be used at city parks.

The board looked at models currently placed in communities throughout the state of North Dakota. Ultimately, one seemed to jump out to board members as a policy that could fit well in Devils Lake.

“I like what Williston has done with its policy,” board member Kale Stromme stated. “It’s pretty cut and dry specifically when it talks about banning cigarettes in any area where youth are playing.”

The board agreed noting that the policy should include a ban of tobacco products near playground equipment. The board also felt that at baseball and softball diamonds, tobacco will be off limits during youth activities.

The only concern about such a policy was how to enforce the rules.

“There is no way to police the use of tobacco products at the park 100 percent of the time,” Bonney stated.

She pointed out that the policy would inform the public of rules in place. Bonney feels signage, to potentially be provided by Lake Region District Health, would be extremely beneficial.

“I don’t expect anyone to be out there at all times and stop what they are doing if they see someone smoking. That’s not realistic,” Bonney added. “This is a self-policing policy. I think the public will be compliant once they know there are guidelines in place.”

The board then voted for Wallace to form a policy similar to the one in Williston. It is expected to be presented for board approval at a future meeting.

In other business, the park board looked over an initial agreement proposal for the Creel Bay Golf Course. The golf course committee is set meet to go over items on a one-on-one basis later this week.

Also, the newly-added viewing area at the Mike Dosch Memorial Pool has been a hit, manager David Kerlin told the board.

“We have a gotten a lot of positive comments on it,” he stated.

Jim Whitehead: The evidence is in: Ban tobacco use in GF parks

By Jim Whitehead

GRAND FORKS—It seems that the proposed Park Board tobacco policy has some folks blowing more than smoke.
Among the assertions are the following:
▇ The policy is not based on good science.
▇ Youth are not influenced by the behavior of others.
▇ It will be unpopular in Grand Forks.
▇ It is paternalistic and a misuse of power.
▇ Golf and softball are adult activities and should be exempt from a chewing tobacco ban.
Let’s start by stating what is well known: First, tobacco products are harmful when used as intended; second, nicotine is highly addictive; third, most tobacco users start before the age of 18; and fourth, North Dakota has a major problem with youth smoking and chewing tobacco use.
Thus, it behooves local public health professionals and civic leaders to take reasonable action to address the issue—which, of course, begs the question of what is “reasonable.”
Well, is it reasonable to assume that the Grand Forks Park District should be interested in regulating unhealthy behaviors? Given that the district’s mission is “to provide the best parks, programs, facilities, forestry services and other services possible to promote a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle for all citizens of Grand Forks,” I would submit that it is quite reasonable to adopt policies that promote fidelity to its mission.
Is the proposed policy based on good science? Note that the risks of secondhand smoke have not been advocated as the basis for the proposed policy. In contrast, the rationale is far more about social norm issues such as the effects of role modeling and peer influence.
Of course, not all scientists agree, and I could certainly cherry-pick research papers that challenge their effects; but the weight of evidence seems to have impressed the scientists and public health professionals at the Centers for Disease Control and local public health departments.
Moreover, the science has been deemed good enough to underpin similar policies that have already been adopted by other local agencies and institutions that claim health-related missions, including Altru, UND and Grand Forks schools.
This is not “paternalism” in action. It is an objective and evidence-based attempt to address a serious public health concern.
The “good science” issue also is pertinent to the notion that the proposed policy “will be unpopular.” Those who have made that criticism may not be aware of the solid research design behind the two recent studies conducted on Grand Forks residents and on softball-team managers and golf-course users. The data shows that 78 percent of residents support the comprehensive tobacco-free policy (90 percent of frequent park users), and 84 percent of softball and golf participants are in favor. This is hardly an unpopular policy.
Moreover, when asked whether the proposed policy would “discourage youth from starting to use tobacco products, promote positive role-modeling” or “create an environment that promotes a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle,” well over 90 percent of respondents agreed.
Again, these data (obtained using good scientific methodology) overwhelmingly refute the notion that the policy will be “unpopular.”
Will this policy, if adopted, cause some people to bypass the city for destinations further south? Given that Manitoba intends to fine smokers $300 if they are caught puffing in provincial parks, beaches or playgrounds, it could be that hardened tobacco-using golfers might pass us by. But I doubt that will constitute enough of a revenue loss to Grand Forks to outweigh the health and health care cost-savings that will accrue from what is demonstrably a popular and science-based policy.
Thus, I hope that the Park District board will ignore these “smoke screens” and adopt the proposed tobacco policy at its meeting on Monday (May 4).
But I also hope that the board will recognize that golf and softball are not exclusively the domain of adults, and consequently, will be amenable to revisiting the chewing tobacco exemption sometime in the near future.
Given the alarming data on all forms of tobacco use by North Dakota’s youth, plus the near-overwhelming support for an all-inclusive comprehensive policy by Grand Forks’ residents and the city’s golfers and softball-team managers, I suggest that this is not an issue that can be “chewed over” and delayed too much longer.

Bill Palmiscno: Tobacco limits in parks will make Grand Forks a better place

By Bill Palmiscno
GRAND FORKS—At the April 6 meeting of the Grand Forks Park Board, the Park Board commissioners passed the first reading of the Park District Tobacco Usage Policy.
It reads as follows:
“No person shall use, chew, smoke, inhale e-cigarettes, or otherwise engage in the usage of tobacco or tobacco products within or on any playground, fitness center, arena, pool, Park District parks, baseball diamonds and outdoor tennis courts. Except for chewing tobacco products at Lincoln Golf Course, King Walk Golf Course and Ulland Park, all tobacco products and all tobacco usage is banned on all property owned, leased or managed by the Park District.”
The decision to implement the Tobacco Usage Ban Policy was not taken lightly. For the past two years, multiple concerned groups, including the Grand Forks Public Health Department, have been requesting a tobacco-free parks ordinance. The issue has been carefully reviewed and analyzed by the Park Board for years.
Here are three major factors that lead to the passing of the first reading of the Park District Tobacco Usage Policy.
▇ Grand Forks City Council ruling on Ordinance 4393
On Dec. 3, 2012, the city of Grand Forks passed the Smoke Free Workplace Ordinance 4393; the ordinance went into effect a few days later. This Grand Forks ordinance and the state of North Dakota’s ruling prohibits smoking on golf courses and softball fields.
Ordinance 4393 also includes “public places,” which made reference to public parks but not playgrounds.
▇ Overwhelming community support for tobacco-free parks
In April 2014, the Park Board was presented with a third-party, scientific survey showing community attitudes and perceptions towards a Comprehensive Tobacco-Free Parks Policy. Key findings can be found in the appendix or online at, the website of the Grand Forks Tobacco Free Coalition.
▇ Commitment to being community leaders in health and wellness
The mission of the Grand Forks Park District is to provide the best parks, programs, facilities, forestry services and other services possible to promote a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle for all citizens of Grand Forks. The Park Board is committed to keeping our mission at the heart of every decision made.
The goal of implementing the Tobacco Usage Policy is to prevent our children from being exposed to addictive behavior in public areas where families frequent, such as parks, playgrounds and youth fields. The Park Board does not want to restrict the rights of adults, hence the decision to allow chewing tobacco products in our adult-focused activity areas such as Lincoln Golf Course, King’s Walk Golf Course and Ulland Park.
We truly believe the decision to implement the Tobacco Usage Policy is in the best interest of Grand Forks residents.

Grand Forks Park Board still uncertain on tobacco ban

By Charly Haley, Grand Forks Herald

After about 15 people stood up simultaneously during a Grand Forks Park Board meeting Tuesday and told the board they support tobacco-free parks, most board members remained uncertain about banning tobacco use.

“A general issue is, does the Park Board want to keep in fidelity with its mission to promote a healthy lifestyle?” said Jim Whitehead, a representative of the Coalition for a Healthy Greater Grand Forks, to the board.

A ban on all tobacco use, both smoking and chewing, has been discussed by the Park Board for about two years. The idea is championed by Park Board member Molly Soeby, but other board members haven’t stated clear opinions on the issue.

In a back-and-forth between audience members speaking in favor of a tobacco ban, most Park Board members said the answer isn’t simple.

“I don’t think any of us are here to say we want smoking for our kids,” board member Tim Skarperud said. But, “We already have a pretty substantial law in place, and are we here to set laws?”

Board President Jay Panzer agreed.

“Who are we to make additional laws above and beyond what the city has already done?” Panzer said.

Grand Forks city code prohibits smoking at the Park District’s softball fields and golf courses, but that does not include chewing tobacco, and the law does not encompass playgrounds or dog parks, Soeby said.

She offered health statistics in favor of a full tobacco ban, including that more children than adults chew tobacco in North Dakota, at 13.8 percent of children versus 7.6 percent of adults.

Other board members said they agree there are health problems associated with tobacco use, but they still aren’t sure about the effectiveness of a tobacco ban, especially because it would be difficult to enforce.

Board member Paul Barta said he’s also undecided, but he’s leaning in favor of the Park Board “setting the trend” by banning all tobacco use in public parks.

While several audience members spoke in favor of the tobacco ban, none spoke against it.

“You have people here, in chairs, telling you how important this is for Grand Forks,” one audience member said. “Where are they?”

LaDouceur, Skarperud and Panzer said they’ve received several calls from people against the ban, and they want to consider those people, too, in making a decision.

“There are certain people that want to be out in the front like this,” Skarperud said, referring to the audience at the meeting, “and there are certain people we talk to behind the scenes.”

Park District Director Bill Palmiscno said he’s hopeful the Park Board will vote in favor of some sort of expanded tobacco ban, whether that’s banning all tobacco use in parks or extending the smoking ban to all parks.

“I don’t want us to not move forward because we can’t have a compromise,” Palmiscno said. “I would rather get part of this done than nothing done.”

Park Board members did not vote on a tobacco policy Tuesday.

Palmiscno said he’d have Park District staff draft two ordinances — one with a full tobacco ban, and another with an increased ban — to be reviewed at a future board meeting.

UTTC to renew tobacco-free status

BISMARCK (UTN) – When the national day to quit smoking comes up next week, United Tribes Technical College will fortify its ban on commercial tobacco use and emphasize the college’s cultural heritage.

UTTC President Leander “Russ” McDonald will proclaim November 20 as “Honoring Tobacco Day” on campus, the same day as the American Cancer Society’s “Great American Smokeout.”

A proclamation signing is set for 9 a.m. on Wednesday, November 19 in the college cafeteria.

One year ago during the annual smoke out, United Tribes became the first tribal college in North Dakota to adopt a comprehensive Tobacco-Free Campus Policy. It prohibits the use of all tobacco-derived products sold commercially, including e-cigarettes, to counteract their lethal and addictive affects.

The policy makes one culturally significant exception. Traditional tobacco uses that have been observed in Native American settings for generations are permitted. UTTC honors spiritual, cultural and ceremonial tobacco uses as “keeping tobacco sacred.”

            Attending the proclamation signing will be students from Theodore Jamerson Elementary School on the college campus. Prizes will be awarded to youngsters in grades K to 8 who designed the best anti-smoking posters to help observe the smoke out. Light refreshments will also be served.

UTTC’s Tobacco-Free Policy was developed by the college’s Wellness Circle. The group was named the 2014 “Public Health Team of the Year” by the North Dakota Public Health Association, in recognition of the initiative.

For more information about the United Tribes Tobacco-Free Policy, visit the college’s website:

Concordia campus goes fully tobacco-free

By Grace Lyden | Forum News Service
MOORHEAD – Following the lead of college campuses around the country, Concordia College at Moorhead is now fully tobacco-free.
As of Aug. 18, the college prohibits the use, sale or distribution of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookahs, electronic cigarettes and any other smoking products, as well as smokeless tobacco products, such as chew and snus, on campus grounds.
“We felt that what we wanted to do was be as comprehensive in this as possible,” said Sue Oatey, Concordia’s vice president of student affairs.
According to a survey done by Concordia’s Student Government Association in 2013, 88 percent of Concordia students did not use tobacco products on campus and 70 percent supported a tobacco-free policy.
Those statistics make it surprising that the move didn’t happen sooner, as it did at other colleges in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
Minnesota State University Moorhead went tobacco-free on Jan. 1, 2008. Two years later, North Dakota State University’s smoking ban went into effect March 1, 2010.
And in the past five years, the number of smoke-free campuses nationwide has soared.
Just 365 campuses were smoke-free in October 2009, compared to 1,372 campuses in July 2014, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, a group that tracks those numbers.
Alyssa Coop, president of Concordia’s student government and a senior at the college, said her understanding was that a smoking ban had been often discussed but also often tabled.
“It’s kind of come and gone,” she said. “Every once in a while, the administration will make headway on it, but it seems to take a while to get through the red tape.”
That’s why the SGA wasn’t confident when they started working with Oatey and others on this proposal two years ago.
“We really didn’t have high hopes for it,” Coop said. “We didn’t know if it was going to be time for it or not.”
Now that it is in place, though, Concordia’s ban is one of the nation’s most comprehensive because it prohibits smoking products, smokeless products and also e-cigarettes.
E-cig debate
E-cigarettes have been a point of debate on numerous college campuses.
They’re marketed as a better option for public use due to reduced secondhand smoke effects, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization have questioned those claims and called for stronger regulation.
Just 176 of this year’s 1,372 smoke-free campuses also prohibit e-cigarettes, according to the ANRF data, and three of those are now in Fargo-Moorhead.
MSUM released a statement March 13 that e-cigarettes would be added to its tobacco policy, citing the lack of FDA regulation and also a 2014 U.S. Surgeon General report that said e-cigarettes constitute tobacco use.
NDSU also recently added e-cigarettes to its policy to be in compliance with state law, said Janna Stoskopf, NDSU dean of student life.
North Dakota is one of two states that specifically prohibit using e-cigarettes in 100 percent smoke-free venues, according to the ANRF July report. The other is New Jersey.
NDSU differs slightly from Concordia and MSUM because while the campus is smoke-free, smokeless tobacco is allowed.
Stoskopf said students who spearheaded the ban were intentional about that choice.
“They thought they would have the best possible success based on the notion of secondhand smoke and the impact of that on others,” she said.
Slightly more than two-thirds of smoke-free college campuses – 938 of the 1,372 – are also tobacco-free, according to the ANRF.
There have not been efforts to change that aspect of NDSU policy, Stoskopf said.

Andrew Knight: Extend to parks the push to reduce smoking

Smoking should be allowed in Grand Forks parks because banning it “clamps down on personal freedom?” (“Too much cost for too little gain,” editorial, Page F1, June 1)

Is the argument really about progress vs. freedom?

The Herald’s “ThreeSixty” opinion section on June 1 includes the phrases “enjoy a cigarette on a park bench,” “cigarette smoke smells like roses,” and that a “(smoking) ban is ‘pointless’ from a traditional perspective.” It felt more like an opinion section from the 1960s.

Grand Forks Park District Commissioner Molly Soeby expertly lays out the issues with several pieces of evidence for this ban, and then non-local public policy wonks (Dennis Prager et al.) are trotted out as the counterpoint, with nary a point made specific to smoking in parks.

Soeby explains 78 percent of the Grand Forks community and 82 percent of golfers and softball managers are for a comprehensive tobacco-free policy. Even with sampling error, we can discern a clear majority opinion here.

How then, does Grand Forks City Council President Hal Gershman think the ban would be “very unpopular?” (“Banning smoking in parks a ‘needless intrusion,’” letter, Page A4, June 4).

This isn’t to say that I don’t expect a small but vocal backlash from the “hey, freedom!” crowd.

The supposed “counter” to Soeby’s arguments and statistics is a smattering of excerpts on the topic of smoking, starting with Simon Chapman from Australia (yes, Australia). Chapman compares car exhaust to secondhand smoke because we breathe in benzene from both sources. There are a LOT of car owners and not nearly as many smokers. How much benzene shoots out of exhausts in cars versus a single cigarette?

This argument fails because he’s using two different scales.

Chapman finishes the tortured analogy saying “we hear no serious calls for the banning of cars.” First, no one is calling for banning cigarettes; it’s about reducing smoking.

Second, there is substantial market pressure on car companies to reduce emissions. Science told us vehicle emissions are pretty bad, so we are trying hard to reduce them. Science also told us smoking is bad, so that’s why the push to reduce places where smoking is allowed needs to continue to parks and other public places.

The slippery slope fallacy continued with an excerpt from a New York Times editorial (from three years ago) to that city’s smoking ban, comparing it outright to alcohol prohibition 90 years ago. If we ban smoking in parks, it may lead to “a civic disaster,” according to the writer.

If this is the best group of arguments to keep smoking legal in parks, maybe it means there are few, if any, locals willing to write against the ban (in which case, kudos to Gershman and the Herald’s editorial board for being lone wolves on this minority opinion).

You have freedom to smoke on your property, in your car, while you walk around town and so on. You have freedom to do a LOT of things in your own home that you cannot do in a park because many of us believe it is better not to expose nature, playgrounds and children to it.

Add smoking to the list. We don’t want children to see adults smoking, feel cigarette butts in their toes or smell the cigarette smoke. Leave the cigarettes in the car for a round of golf or a volleyball match.

Soon my family is moving to Colorado — a state with acres ravaged by fires in recent years. Herald readers can probably understand that the residents there are skittish about smoking in places such as parks and playgrounds, and therefore have enacted smoking bans.

Like people in Grand Forks, they have natural beauty worth preserving, would prefer not seeing people “enjoying a cigarette on a park bench” and don’t want to take the chance that an errant cigarette butt could take down a forest range.

We’re packing up for the move and are already missing people we’ve befriended here, but we won’t miss the overly cautious, conservative approach to environmental protections.

This is not a simple false choice of progress or freedom. The Park Board should feel very confident moving forward in enacting this policy.

And to the Herald editorial board: Yes, the benefits are more than worth the costs.

Knight is an assistant professor in the music department at UND.

Grand Forks Park District seeks info before acting on tobacco ban

Grand Forks Park District Commissioners want to gather some more information before acting on a tobacco-free policy.

Commissioners received the results of a poll last week that showed overwhelming support for adopting a comprehensive tobacco-free policy on Park District property. On Friday, commissioners said they wanted to hear from adult users of park facilities, such as softball league teams, before crafting or acting on a policy.

“If we wanted to implement a policy right now (that says) absolutely no smoking for parts that have anything to do with our youth, we could do that tomorrow,” said Greg LaDouceur, vice president of the Park Board. “I think everybody’s got the same idea on that.”

“We’re just a little bit more cautious with our adult user groups,” he added.

The poll surveyed the Grand Forks community at large and people who use Park District facilities, such as softball team managers and golfers. Users showed more support for a tobacco-free policy, with 82 percent of respondents saying they strongly or somewhat support the idea while 78 percent of the community respondents showed support.

The survey question also mentions electronic cigarettes as being part of the ban. Minneapolis is considering banning all forms of smoking throughout its parks, including e-cigs.

LaDouceur said one concern they have is how a tobacco-free policy would be enforced.

Still, Paul Barta, another commissioner, called the survey an “important first step.”

“I think we learned a lot from that survey,” Barta said. “I think the results were pretty positive to going towards tobacco-free parks. So I think we have a good start to maybe head down that direction.”

Any tobacco-free policy wouldn’t affect the Greater Grand Forks Greenway, said Park District Director Bill Palmiscno.