Good News From the State Capitol

Progress is being made on both Tobacco 21 (T21) and adding e-cigarettes to Minnesota's Clean Indoor Air Act.  The Minnesota House recently passed a bill off the floor, with a vote of 100-25, to include electronic cigarettes in Minnesota’s Clean Indoor Air Act. The purpose of this bill is to protect employees and the public from the hazards of secondhand smoke and involuntary exposure to aerosol (or vapor) from e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are already classified as tobacco products under state and federal law, and this bill expands the definition of “smoking” to ensure Minnesota’s smoke-free air laws cover e-cigarettes wherever smoking is already prohibited.

The expanded definition ensures we’re doing our best to cover the new products we’re seeing now and anticipating in the future. Minnesotans expect and deserve clean indoor air and passing a comprehensive statewide law will protect everyone's health. More than 50 communities around our state have already passed local policies adding e-cigarettes to their clean indoor air laws. It’s time for the rest of the state to be covered under these protections.

At Feeling Good MN, we support efforts to include electronic cigarette devices in public policies that apply to combustible cigarettes. While there are many unknowns about the dangers of e-cigarettes, we know e-cigarette aerosol is not safe and threatens our clean indoor air. Here are the facts:

  • E-cigarettes emit aerosol which contains nicotine, heavy metals, formaldehyde and other carcinogens and harmful chemicals.
  • There have been no long-term studies conducted on e-cigarettes, so the long-term impact on the health of users or those exposed to secondhand aerosol is unknown.
  • Only 50 percent of Minnesotans are already protected from e-cigarettes in indoor public places.
  • An overwhelming majority of Minnesotans, 81 percent, support expanding protections to prohibit e-cigarette use in indoor public places.
  • E-cigarettes may re-normalize smoking and threaten Minnesota’s progress to reduce youth tobacco use.

At press time, the Tobacco 21 bills are moving through both the House and Senate committees. To date, 29 cities and counties have passed T21 ordinances.  Stay up to date on our tobacco prevention initiatives and visit our Advocacy page. 

Minnesotans deserve and expect clean indoor air.