Minnesota limits indoor electronic cigarette use
New legislation that takes effect today in Minnesota prohibits e-cigarette use in several public places, including government buildings, public schools, and most health care facilities. Some residential health care facilities have smoking rooms where e-cigarettes can still be used.
The Minnesota Legislature passed a series of e-cigarette measures during the 2014 Legislative Session including indoor-use restrictions, which go into effect July 1. The law also requires retailers selling e-cigarettes to keep them behind the counter and to be licensed. Next year, starting Jan. 1, the law will require child resistant packaging of e-cigarette liquids sold in Minnesota. The law also prohibits anyone under 18 years of age to possess an e-cigarette nicotine dispenser on public school grounds.
"As part of this law, we have taken this step to protect children and government workers by opting for clean air in public schools and in government buildings," said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger. "We encourage others to do likewise by voluntarily exercising their rights to limit e-cigarettes and keep their workplaces vapor free."
Under the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act e-cigarette use is now subject to the same prohibitions and restrictions as smoking in some locations, such as:
• Licensed day care, including family home daycare during hours of operation.
• Buildings and vehicles owned or operated by public school districts.
• Health care facilities and clinics, except residents of residential health care facilities or psychiatric units can still use e-cigarettes in enclosed areas, such as smoking rooms, that meet applicable regulations.
• Buildings owned or operated by the state of Minnesota, as well as Minnesota cities, counties, and townships.
• Facilities owned by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and the University of Minnesota.
• Facilities licensed by Minnesota Department of Human Services, and those MDH-licensed facilities subject to federal licensing requirements.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that allow users to inhale vaporized liquid (e-juice), which may contain nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals. E-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA, and there is no body of evidence proving that e-cigarettes are safer than smoking or that the vapors are safe to inhale. Nationally, e-cigarette use among youth more than doubled from 2011 to 2012. Additionally, since 2011 child poisonings in Minnesota related to e-cigarettes have increased sharply.
More information on e-cigarettes may be found at http://www.health.state.mn.us/ecigarettes.
More information on the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act may be found at http://www.health.state.mn.us/freedomtobreathe/.