A retooled measure that would ban the use of electronic cigarettes—commonly known as “vaping”-- in some public places head to Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk for signature into law.
The measure re-passed the House 93-35 and the Senate 52-13 Thursday as part of the Health and Human Services Policy omnibus bill, which also includes a ban on the use of indoor tanning beds by children under 18.
The final version of the bill prohibits vaping in most government-owned buildings including correctional facilities, daycare facilities including home daycares, hospitals and any buildings owned by the University of Minnesota or Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, including dorm rooms. The bill does not ban use in city-owned buildings, but they have the option of adopting by equal or more strict bans.
The bill also require4s child-proof packaging for all e-cigarette liquids p[prohibits e-cigarette use in public schools, bans retail sales from mall kiosks and allows local governments to pass stronger restrictions and ensure penalties for sale of e-cigarettes to minors.
The final result was a compromise between a stricter Senate versions authored by Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato, which placed e-cigarettes under the Clean Indoor Air Act, banning their use in all public places. A House version narrowed the ban to state buildings and public schools. The bill’s House author, Rep. Laurie Halverson, DFL-Eagan, removed the Clean Indoor Air Act provision in hopes of garnering enough votes to pass the bill.
In the past year, 80 percent of Minnesota’s 200 e-cigarette retailers have set up shop in kiosks and brick-and-mortar stores, garnering gratitude from users who say the devices are a safe alternative for those trying to quit smoking. But the devices, which can contain nicotine laced with various flavors that emit a vapor rather than smoke, concern some who say little is known about what chemicals secondhand vapors contain, and whether they’re harmful. However, opponents of an indoor use ban say there’s no proof that the vapor emitted from the products is harmful or dangerous.
Despite earlier reservations about a ban, Gov. Mark Dayton said he intends to sign the bill.