Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Press Release
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

New law prohibits e-cigarette use in no-smoking areas

 

August 1, 2019



Starting August 1, all Minnesotans can breathe easier. That day, a new law goes into effect that prohibits the use of e-cigarettes in workplaces where smoking is already banned. The law expands the definition of smoking in the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act to protect the public from harmful e-cigarette aerosol in public places like restaurants, bars and stores. Until now, only 50 percent of Minnesotans have been covered by local policies that prohibit e-cigarette use in those indoor spaces.

This change is the culmination of a long fight by health advocates to include e-cigarettes in the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act. Protecting all Minnesotans from e-cigarette aerosol was proposed in the State Legislature as early as 2014, but it wasn’t until this year that a bill made it through the process and was signed into law as part of the health and human services budget bill.

Minnesota’s expanded definition of smoking covers the range of tobacco products on the market now and anticipates new products that may emerge in the future.

E-cigarette aerosol is not safe and contains nicotine, heavy metals, formaldehyde and other carcinogens and harmful chemicals. The long-term impact on the health of users or those exposed to secondhand e-cigarette aerosol is unknown since there have been no long-term studies conducted.

The U.S. Surgeon General calls teen e-cigarette use an epidemic. National surveys found that from 2017 to 2018, youth vaping increased 78 percent – the largest increase in adolescent substance use ever recorded.

Locally, the 2017 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey found that nearly one in five high-schoolers is using e-cigarettes and 40 percent have tried them. That survey was conducted before JUUL and other e-cigarettes gained massive popularity among students.

Sustainable funding for tobacco prevention is especially critical as ClearWay Minnesota, a major funder of such programs, comes to the end of its limited life by 2022. Last year, Minnesota took in more than $750 million in settlement fees and tobacco taxes – yet less than 1 percent of that was used for tobacco prevention or cessation.

 

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