Above: Jonny Ny vaped behind the counter at Uptown Vapor Shop in Minneapolis. (GLEN STUBBE)
The City Council on Friday unanimously passed new regulations cracking down on e-cigarette use indoors.
The new rule prohibits e-cigarette use in indoor public places including stores, restaurants and workplaces. The bill's author Cam Gordon stressed that it does not prohibit sampling in e-cigarette shops, however, which he intends to make more explicit in a subsequent ordinance change.
"There's concern that it might ... have inadvertenly made it prohibitive to sample in the shops, the electronic devices," Gordon said. "But we actually didn't touch that ordinance at all."
But to allay any fears, he said, he will push to clarify the ordinance.
Minneapolis' actions come as cities across the metro area are clamping down on e-cigarette use indoors.
Council Member Lisa Bender said the Youth Coordinating Board had made the change a top priority. "It was very compelling to hear the youth of our city come and tell us that this was a policy change they wanted to see," Bender said.
A committee hearing in November attracted crowds to testify at City Hall both for and against the new regulations. Opponents said e-cigarettes are important smoking cessation tools. Supporters said the products pose potential health risks -- which are still being studied.
The state recently passed a law that banned vaping near schools, hospitals and public university campuses.