As of Wednesday, people driving into Minnesota from three neighboring states are getting a reminder that the air is cleaner here.
Three billboards showing a satellite image of Minnesota as the clear green spot in a fog of tobacco smoke went up on highways at the borders of Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota.
They were provided by three local anti-smoking coalitions who say they want to brag about Minnesota's status as the only state in the region with a state-wide smoking ban. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota provided about $10,000 in funding for the advertising.
"Today, our neighbors are not smoke-free," said Cynthia Piette, project coordinator for Smoke-Free Washington County, which is sponsoring a billboard on Highway 94 in Woodbury just over the border from Wisconsin. "We are the regional leader."
The anti-smoking groups chose Wednesday to unveil the billboards because it is "Kick Butts Day," and in honor of the six-month anniversary this week of the state's smoking ban. The other two billboards are on Interstate 90 about 4 miles from the South Dakota border, and on Hwy. 10 in Moorhead about 3 miles from the North Dakota border.