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BLOOMINGTON — Smoking no longer will be allowed at city-operated Miller Park Zoo and two municipal swimming pools.

The prohibition, effective May 3, includes electronic cigarettes, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems or any other device that simulates tobacco smoking by producing an aerosol that resembles smoke.

The prohibition was among items on a consent agenda that the City Council unanimously approved Monday night.

"We just felt this was the right thing to do — keeping smoke away from guests, especially younger guests, and thinking about the animals' health as well," said Jay Tetzloff, who heads the zoo and parks, recreation and cultural arts department.

"No smoking" signs will be posted next week at the zoo and at the swimming pools before they open in late May, he added.

The ban does not extend to other city-owned outdoor facilities, such as parks and municipal golf courses. 

In Normal, "currently we do not have restrictions in our park areas, and we do allow smoking in designated areas at our Champion Fields (softball) facility, in between fields two and three," said James Wayne, assistant director of business and recreation operations in the town's parks office. 

In Bloomington, patrons will not be able to smoke in outdoor spaces at the zoo, but they can once they leave and step onto the grounds of Miller Park.

Smoking also will not be permitted inside the fenced areas at O'Neil Pool, 1515 W. Chestnut St., or at Holiday Pool, 800 S. McGregor St., "but we'll allow people, if they need to smoke, to leave the area and then come back in," said Tetzloff, 

"That's not a problem for us. They just need to get stamped first," he added.

Normal follows the same procedure at Fairview Family Aquatic Center at 801 N. Main St. and Anderson Aquatic Center at 100 S. Maple St.

Smoking in the bathhouses and buildings at the zoo was already banned under the Smoke Free Illinois Act of 2007. The state law prohibits smoking in public buildings, including any building owned or operated by the city or town.

The state's smoke-free act, however, did not prohibit the use of e-cigarettes.

Bloomington aldermen approved in August 2016 banning electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices in city-owned buildings, including Grossinger Motors Arena.

The zoo and swimming pools, however, were not included in that ban until now

"I appreciate the city moving forward with reducing the ability to smoke at those city properties," said Ward 8 Alderman Diana Hauman, who leaves the council April 30. "I think it sends a message to families and kids who use those facilities that we're not setting an example of an unhealthy lifestyle."

Hauman said that she personally would like to see the smoking and vaping prohibitions extended to the city's parks and golf courses.

"I don't think we need to be exposing kids to smoking, and a lot of recreation happens in the parks with families," she said. 

Contact Maria Nagle at (309) 820-3244. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle

Reporter Derek Beigh contributed to this story.

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Bloomington Reporter

Bloomington reporter for The Pantagraph.

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