Public Places and Work Spaces

Creating a Safer, Healthier Community

Secondhand smoke exposure has dropped dramatically in Minnesota in recent decades thanks to the 1975 Clean Indoor Air Act and the 2007 Freedom to Breathe Act, which added those protections for employees and patrons at restaurants and bars and other employers. Still, some Minnesota residents are subjected to secondhand smoke because of where they live, work, or play.

Feeling Good MN is working with local, county, and state agencies to raise awareness of the benefits of offering tobacco-free public place and work space options.

Know the Facts

Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is smoke from burning tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Secondhand smoke is also smoke that is exhaled by a person that is smoking. This smoke contains over 700 chemicals, including nearly 70 that cause cancer.

Secondhand smoke exposure kills approximately 45,000 Americans each year. Secondhand smoke causes stroke, lung and other cancers, and coronary heart disease in adults. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, more severe asthma, respiratory symptoms, and slowed lung growth.

Secondhand/Thirdhand Smoke Fast Facts:

  • Secondhand smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, including nearly 70 known to cause cancer.
  • 282,000 Minnesota kids are exposed to secondhand and thirdhand smoke at home.
  • Almost 50% of MN adults report being exposed to secondhand smoke during the past week
  • Secondhand smoke is a known cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), potentially fatal respiratory infections, frequent and severe asthma attacks, and ear infections.
  • More than 40% of children who visit the emergency room for asthma live with smokers.

Thirdhand Smoke

Thirdhand smoke is tobacco smoke contamination that remains after the cigarette has been extinguished. The cocktail of toxins lingers in carpets, sofas, clothes and other materials hours or even days after a cigarette is put out—is a health hazard for infants and children.

E-Cigarette Vapor

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices used to inhale a heated vapor of nicotine, flavoring and other chemicals. More than half of all Minnesotans live in communities who prohibit their use wherever smoking is already prohibited.

We believe it is time to protect all Minnesotans in restaurants, bars and other workplaces not yet covered and we support efforts to include these products in public policies that apply to cigarettes. There is not yet a body of evidence on the effects of using or being around e-cigarettes, and allowing an unknown substance to be used in indoor public places exposes bystanders.

A poll funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota in February of 2014 found that Minnesotans strongly support e-cigarette restrictions in public places. 79% said they support prohibiting e-cigarette use in places where smoking is already prohibited.

Recent changes to Minnesota law prohibit e-cigarette use in public schools, hospitals, clinics and government-owned buildings, including city and county buildings. It also includes licensed daycare facilities during hours of operations.