How does Minnesota law treat e-cigarettes?
In Minnesota, e-cigarettes are taxed as a tobacco product and it is illegal to sell them to minors. Currently, using e-cigarettes does not meet the definition of “smoking” under Minnesota’s Clean Indoor Air Act–so using them in public places such as bars and restaurants is not against the law. Since Minnesota workplaces became smoke-free in 2007, clean indoor air has become the standard and 85 percent of Minnesotans support the statewide smoke-free law. Many businesses and localities are now taking action to limit the use of e-cigarettes.
Communities across Minnesota are now taking action. The City of Duluth has banned the use of e-cigarettes anywhere smoking is prohibited, including bars, restaurants and transit stops. The city has also prohibited the sampling of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in retail stores and required that all e-cigarettes be sold behind the counter.
The city of Mankato has prohibited e-cigarette stores from providing samples to customers and also requires sellers to get a retail tobacco license.
Hennepin County has banned the use of e-cigarettes on county property. Housing and Redevelopment Authorities in St. Cloud, Eveleth and Worthington have included e-cigarettes in their smoke-free housing policies. Hennepin County Technical College has banned the use of e-cigarettes on its campus. Rock County has required that all e-cigarettes be sold behind the counter in retail stores. Scott County has included e-cigarettes in its smoke-free workplace policy. Target Field has prohibited e-cigarette use in the stadium.
Although the FDA has the authority to regulate e-cigarettes, it has yet to take action. As a result, many state and local governments and businesses are choosing to regulate these new products.