01/06/2012 10:22 EST | Updated 03/07/2012 05:12 EST

Smoking banned in Metro Vancouver parks

Anyone stepping out for a walk in a Metro Vancouver regional park will no longer be allowed to light up a smoke while hiking the trails.

The new smoking ban for all 33 regional parks and greenways, including Pacific Spirit Park at UBC, Capilano River Regional park and Burnaby Lake Regional Park, went into effect on Jan. 1.

Metro Vancouver Operations Manager Craig Smith says second-hand smoke exposure was a real worry.

"The main concern is where people tend to congregate...high activity areas where there are congregations of people, areas such as beaches, playgrounds, campgrounds, picnic areas, picnic shelters, some of the other public facilities we have," said Smith.

Most regional parks will provide designated smoking areas close to existing parking lots and for the month of January staff will be informing people about the new by-law and looking for voluntary compliance.

After that, violaters can expect fines up to $75.

The Metro Vancouver board passed the ban in September. The City of Vancouver banned smoking in all its parks in 2010.

B.C. already has laws in place banning smoking in any indoor public areas, at bus stops and next to public doorways and windows. Vancouver also has a bylaw prohibiting smoking on outdoor restaurant patios.