Tough new rules on where people can smoke in London are coming into effect, and smokers could face a steep fine if they light up around play areas in city parks after May 1st.

The new bylaw forbids smoking or holding a lit cigarette within nine metres of playgrounds, splash pads, pools, sports fields, picnic areas and skate parks. The same applies to entrances to city-owned buildings.

Linda Stobo, manager of the Chronic Disease Prevention & Tobacco Control Team at the Middlesex-London Health Unit, has advice for smokers.

“Don't smoke in those areas, move away from those areas, smoke out in the open air of the park not where others are.”

An information campaign to let the public know about the new rules will ramp up next week, but most smokers are already resigned to the changes.

Some even admit it sets a good example not to smoke in front of children.

The Health Unit has found that changes to smoking regulations quickly become self-enforcing, but anyone caught smoking where they shouldn't, could face a fine of $205.

London is joining 80 other municipalities in Ontario with smoking restrictions in parks.

The Health Unit says it’s not just about second-hand smoke, but also curbing the influence of seeing others smoke.

“The bylaw is intended protect familiies, young people and even adults who are engaging in healthy active play,” Stobo says.

For parents who don't smoke the new rules also come as a breath of fresh air.