Manitobans who light up in some areas of provincial parks will soon be slapped with $300 fines.

Conservation Minister Gord Mackintosh said Manitoba is becoming the first province in the country to make beaches and playgrounds in parks smoke-free.

This year, enforcement officers will issue warnings to those caught smoking cigarettes, but by next year, hefty fines will kick in.

Mackintosh said it’s part of the NDP government’s plan to make parks cleaner, saying cigarette butts are toxic, slow to decompose and costly to manage.

"Our sand beaches shouldn’t be park ashtrays, and I’ve said here today, jokingly, we only want one kind of butts on our beaches," said Mackintosh.

He said the move is also aimed at encouraging healthy living. Similar bans are in place in California, and Mackintosh doesn’t anticipate Manitoba’s will be hard to enforce

"It becomes enforced by people on the beaches themselves. It really changes norms and expectations very quickly," said Mackintosh.