Gov. Mark Dayton has broken with his Health Department commissioner over the extent of regulation needed on electronic cigarettes. Dayton said that he is uncomfortable with legislative efforts to put e-cigarettes in the same category as conventional cigarettes when it comes to prohibition of use in public spaces.
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Minnesota Poison Control System officials say they’re seeing a sharp increase in the number of young people being harmed by e-cigarette liquid. In 2012, the poison center received five reports of e-cigarette-related poisonings for people under 20 years old. Last year, that number jumped to 50.
The growing popularity of smokeless electronic cigarettes has Minnesota lawmakers weighing whether they should be regulated in similar fashion to traditional tobacco products.
For years, the University of Minnesota has been doing research on tobacco and tobacco-related products. The dangers of the emerging market of electronic cigarettes is still widely unknown.
Forty attorneys general sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday urging the agency to meet its own deadline and regulate electronic cigarettes in the same way it regulates tobacco products.
More smokers are turning to electronic cigarettes as a less-expensive and less-regulated way to get their nicotine. But they’re still so new, governments and businesses are grappling with how to deal with them. E-cigarettes have a battery-powered heating element that produces vapor rather than smoke. They’re not restricted under Minnesota’s Clean Indoor Air Act, but many businesses – including the Minnesota Twins – are telling customers to put them away.
It’s been a month since the state’s cigarette sales tax increased by more than a dollar and-a-half a pack. That’s brought the total tax on cigarettes to more than $2.80 per pack.