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Minnesota House votes to expand state's indoor vaping ban

Vaping would be banned from bars, restaurants and workplaces across Minnesota under a bill that passed the House on Thursday.

Posted: Mar 14, 2019 8:07 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Vaping would be banned from bars, restaurants and workplaces across Minnesota under a bill that passed the House on Thursday, a proposal that's aimed in part at reversing the growing popularity of e-cigarettes among young people.

The bill would prohibit the use of e-cigarettes wherever tobacco smoking is now banned under the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, which covers the vast majority of public buildings and workplaces in the state, as well as public transportation. It would also cover more products, including any that might contain marijuana or synthetic nicotine.

The chief author, Rep. Laurie Halvorson, said e-cigarettes are "ushering in an epidemic of youth smoking." She said one in five Minnesota high school students now use them.

"We're losing ground for the first time in over 17 years of great work by Minnesotans in helping to keep smoking rates low," the Eagan Democrat said. "Now youth tobacco use is on the rise. And e-cigarettes are a direct cause."

Halvorson said e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to smoking, adding that e-cigarette vapors contain dangerous chemicals so their use indoors undermines the state's clean air protections.

But Rep. Pat Garofalo dismissed the idea that the bill is about keeping e-cigarettes away from kids and schools, or providing healthier air. He said it's about government telling people what to do.

"Some people still actually believe in letting people make their own personal choices, and having personal freedoms, without having the nanny state tell them what to do," the Farmington Republican said.

The bill is backed by Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation, a coalition of more than 60 groups. Spokeswoman Laura Smith said they hope the bill will now get a hearing in the Senate, given its bipartisan support in the House, though no action has been scheduled.

Twenty-five counties and 31 cities across Minnesota have already added e-cigarettes to their clean indoor air policies, according to ClearWay Minnesota, an anti-smoking group funded via the state's 1998 settlement with the tobacco industry. The bill would extend similar restrictions statewide. It would also tighten up language against e-cigarette use in schools, though most districts already have tobacco-free policies to ensure that vaping in school is prohibited.

A narrower 2014 state law prohibited e-cigarette use at day care centers, health care facilities, state and local government buildings, in college and university buildings, and certain other facilities.

On the federal level, the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday released proposed guidelines to reverse what health officials call an epidemic of underage vaping. The plan would restrict sales of most flavored products to stores that verify the age of customers upon entry or use separate, age-restricted sales areas.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 20573

Reported Deaths: 878
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin6918534
Ramsey231697
Stearns192312
Nobles14572
Anoka116455
Dakota105935
Olmsted55110
Washington50626
Kandiyohi4541
Clay36623
Rice3652
Scott3462
Wright2401
Sherburne2081
Todd1970
Benton1662
Carver1612
Mower1501
Steele1400
Martin1245
Blue Earth1121
St. Louis11113
Pine850
Freeborn840
Winona7715
Carlton730
Nicollet683
Cottonwood620
Polk582
Otter Tail550
Itasca527
Goodhue522
Watonwan500
Chisago481
Dodge430
Meeker420
Crow Wing421
Le Sueur411
Chippewa400
Jackson390
Morrison380
Murray350
Becker320
Lyon310
Douglas290
McLeod260
Isanti250
Waseca240
Rock210
Unassigned199
Fillmore171
Mille Lacs161
Wabasha160
Swift150
Sibley120
Beltrami120
Wilkin113
Norman110
Kanabec111
Cass113
Faribault110
Brown112
Pipestone100
Marshall80
Pennington70
Pope70
Aitkin60
Wadena60
Yellow Medicine50
Koochiching50
Lincoln50
Mahnomen51
Renville50
Lac qui Parle30
Red Lake30
Big Stone30
Redwood30
Traverse30
Grant20
Houston20
Clearwater20
Hubbard10
Kittson10
Lake10
Roseau10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 17227

Reported Deaths: 456
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3714108
Woodbury255524
Black Hawk167639
Linn92775
Marshall86611
Dallas84914
Johnson5987
Muscatine54339
Wapello5004
Crawford4772
Tama39023
Louisa3347
Scott3319
Dubuque31916
Jasper25616
Buena Vista2310
Pottawattamie2106
Sioux1990
Washington1798
Allamakee1184
Wright1170
Plymouth1080
Warren1060
Story941
Poweshiek888
Bremer676
Henry611
Clinton601
Boone540
Des Moines531
Mahaska526
Cedar451
Guthrie433
Taylor370
Benton371
Jones360
Monroe334
Iowa320
Clarke320
Osceola320
Shelby310
Buchanan310
Clayton303
Marion290
Webster271
Fayette260
Hamilton260
Madison241
Monona230
Cerro Gordo221
Lee220
Winneshiek210
Davis200
Lyon190
Grundy190
Harrison190
Floyd181
Jefferson150
Cherokee150
Butler150
Mills140
Delaware140
Humboldt130
Sac130
Greene130
Keokuk130
Hardin130
Howard120
Hancock120
Appanoose123
Audubon111
Jackson110
Cass110
Ida100
Page100
Clay100
Winnebago100
Carroll90
Van Buren80
Franklin80
Dickinson80
Adair80
Chickasaw80
Kossuth70
Emmet70
Lucas60
Montgomery60
Union60
Adams50
Ringgold40
Fremont40
Pocahontas40
Mitchell40
Palo Alto30
Worth30
Unassigned30
Calhoun20
Wayne10
Decatur00
Rochester
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Mason City
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Albert Lea
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Austin
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Charles City
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