Bloomington is the latest Minnesota city to get tough on e-cigarettes. The City Council passed a new ordinance 7-0 on Monday night that bans e-cigarette use in most public places and bans sampling in stores where e-cigarettes are sold.
The council’s action puts an end to “vaping” in two e-cigarette retailers operating in the city.
The council also cracked down on sales of cheap cigars, which health officials said are popular with young people. The ordinance requires cigars to be sold in packages of at least five, unless the individual cigars cost more than $2.60 apiece.
Council members and health officials focused on the possible health risks of e-cigarettes, while vaping advocates stressed its effectiveness to help people quit smoking tobacco.
“The proposals before you today are not groundbreaking. They are common sense,” said Molly Moilanen, representing a coalition of health organizations including ClearWay Minnesota, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.
Angie Griffith, who co-owns several e-cigarette retailers in Bloomington and other cities, said the ordinance would harm her business and its 25 employees. “We’re not Big Tobacco,” she said. “We’re a thriving, responsible small business.”