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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.

Cases: 312969

Reported Deaths: 3637
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin661641115
Ramsey27766505
Anoka22149228
Dakota22015190
Washington13999115
Stearns13733116
St. Louis8747112
Scott846255
Wright775843
Olmsted665634
Sherburne587641
Clay498457
Carver474213
Blue Earth414116
Rice412836
Kandiyohi408122
Crow Wing359634
Otter Tail314322
Chisago311611
Nobles308730
Benton299451
Winona276930
Mower261623
Douglas260337
Polk256324
Morrison231629
Lyon218711
Beltrami217117
McLeod212812
Becker205415
Goodhue203228
Steele19497
Isanti190617
Itasca190423
Carlton185816
Todd181214
Nicollet162525
Mille Lacs153631
Freeborn15336
Le Sueur147011
Cass143710
Brown141315
Waseca139211
Pine13658
Meeker12879
Roseau11964
Hubbard114925
Martin113320
Wabasha10561
Redwood94619
Chippewa8877
Cottonwood8664
Renville86527
Dodge8600
Watonwan8544
Wadena8016
Sibley7934
Rock7779
Aitkin76730
Pipestone72518
Fillmore6990
Houston6984
Yellow Medicine64812
Pennington6478
Kanabec61913
Murray5873
Swift5838
Faribault5612
Pope5391
Clearwater5248
Stevens5103
Marshall4979
Unassigned49359
Jackson4881
Lake4226
Koochiching3926
Wilkin3895
Lac qui Parle3773
Lincoln3591
Norman3497
Big Stone3182
Mahnomen2964
Grant2796
Kittson2248
Red Lake2133
Traverse1481
Lake of the Woods1001
Cook720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 227398

Reported Deaths: 2368
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33642336
Linn14352165
Scott1124986
Black Hawk10893135
Woodbury10372126
Johnson955336
Dubuque923291
Story678822
Dallas637257
Pottawattamie631970
Sioux370325
Webster358535
Cerro Gordo357144
Marshall348546
Clinton331344
Buena Vista305414
Des Moines291520
Muscatine289268
Warren281914
Plymouth276042
Wapello255772
Jones232313
Jasper217944
Marion205320
Lee203917
Carroll198422
Bremer195212
Henry18307
Crawford174616
Benton170619
Tama154340
Jackson144613
Delaware144221
Washington141314
Dickinson139210
Boone137011
Mahaska126827
Wright12456
Clay11784
Buchanan117010
Hardin115810
Page11374
Hamilton11199
Clayton11175
Cedar108413
Harrison107729
Kossuth10667
Calhoun10617
Floyd105016
Mills10487
Fayette103910
Lyon10338
Butler10216
Poweshiek99313
Winneshiek97613
Iowa95812
Winnebago93023
Hancock8677
Grundy86311
Louisa86216
Sac8608
Chickasaw8574
Cherokee8484
Allamakee81811
Cass81623
Mitchell7984
Appanoose79312
Humboldt7715
Union7706
Shelby76511
Emmet76424
Guthrie75415
Franklin73921
Jefferson7142
Madison6864
Unassigned6690
Palo Alto6554
Keokuk5997
Howard5599
Pocahontas5584
Greene5250
Osceola5241
Ida48913
Clarke4874
Davis4709
Taylor4653
Montgomery46311
Monroe44412
Adair4418
Monona4352
Worth3630
Fremont3583
Van Buren3585
Lucas3256
Decatur3170
Wayne3007
Audubon2962
Ringgold2112
Adams1702
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