ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Minnesota senators are considering a change in course on electronic cigarette regulations after Gov. Mark Dayton stated objections to a bill awaiting a vote.
The Senate on Wednesday pulled the bill from the floor back into committee. There members will decide whether to strip a clause that put e-cigarettes in the same category as conventional cigarettes when it comes to prohibition of use in public spaces, which Dayton earlier said he is uncomfortable with.
Dayton says he would sign a bill to restrict children’s ability to buy e-cigarettes, but he would likely oppose proposed restrictions on their use indoors. His comments published Wednesday directly contradict testimony from Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger.
Dayton said the state came down hard on smokers last session, by raising state taxes on traditional cigarettes. He said banning e-cigs indoors would go “too far.”
In a Senate committee Monday, Ehlinger described the vapor-emitting devices as “a threat to the health of the public” that could undermine the state’s law barring tobacco use in public buildings and most businesses.
These developments come on the heels of a new study by researchers at the University of California San Francisco. They found electronic cigarettes won’t help smokers quit using traditional cigarettes.
Advocates of e-cigarettes have said the devices are becoming a popular alternative for smokers trying to quit. The electronic devices do not contain tobacco, but use a vapor filled with nicotine.
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