E-Cigs Could be Added to Minnesota Indoor Clean Air Act

Updated: 02/27/2014 7:35 AM
Created: 02/26/2014 4:57 PM
By: Todd Wilson

After five years of smoking Kirsten Heller is thinking about quitting. She's looking at E-cigarettes as an alternative.

"I think they are a good thing, helps you quit smoking. Or it helps you cut back to eventually quit smoking," she said.

E-cigarettes have started a huge debate. And until they're proven safe, the Minneapolis Health Department is asking the city council to support a move to have them added to Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act.

"Everybody knows it's bad for you and we enjoy having the benefits of the clean air act so I would be surprised if there was any opposition up here," Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson said.

Right now, the Indoor Clean Air Act bans smoking in bars, restaurants and bowling alleys. It also bans smoking in all work places but it does not include E-cigarettes. Once it was passed Johnson says, they saw an initial decline in the liquor tax, plus.

"The receipts for the charitable gambling were down some," she said.

According to Democratic Representative Phyllis Kahn, more than two-dozen Minnesota cities and counties have implemented restrictions on E-cigarette use in public places. Some of those with restrictions include Mankato, Duluth and Hennepin County.

Heller says, she understands the loathing of smoking period.

"Not a lot of people like the vapors from the E-cigarettes nor the smoke in the air around them, just as much as they don't like the smoke of cigarettes," Heller said.

The Minneapolis Health Department declined to speak on this issue until March 7, which is when the city council will likely adopt some policy around this specifically, whether to support this change in their legislative agenda. 

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