Minneapolis regulating electronic cigarettes

The City of Minneapolis updated its clean indoor air ordinance to prohibit electronic cigarette use in all indoor public places and places of employment. It takes effect immediately.

The new ordinance adopts the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act banning indoor cigarette smoking and prohibits electronic cigarette use in all indoor public places in the city. Public places such as stores, restaurants and other places of employment can be fined for allowing indoor electronic cigarette use. The ordinance does not restrict electronic cigarette sampling in exclusive tobacco shops (including exclusive electronic cigarette shops) that restrict people under the age of 18 from entering.

To help restaurants, businesses and other worksites inform people about the new law, the Minneapolis Health Department will provide free window decals that indicate smoking (including electronic cigarettes) is prohibited indoors. To get a decal, businesses can email health@minneaplismn.gov.

Studies have shown that electronic cigarettes and their vapor contain toxicants and nanoparticles that may increase the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disease. There have been no long-term studies conducted on electronic cigarettes, so the lasting impact on the health of users and those exposed to their vapor is unknown. While many people report that electronic cigarettes have helped them quit smoking cigarettes, electronic cigarettes have not been proven to be cessation devices, and the Food and Drug Administration has not approved them as one.

In June 2014, the Minneapolis Youth Congress recommended this action as a strategy for reducing exposure to potentially harmful vapor and preventing the normalization and use of electronic cigarettes among young people. Nationwide, electronic cigarette use among young people who have never smoked a cigarette has tripled since 2011. In Minnesota, 28 percent of high school students and 8 percent of middle school students have tried electronic cigarettes.

Other cities that ban electronic cigarettes in indoor public places include Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Bloomington, Duluth and Edina. Dozens of other cities and counties have also included electronic cigarette bans in their clean indoor air laws.

Published Dec 5, 2014

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