With the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes, many cities are taking action to ban the use of them in certain places. On Monday night, the City of Bloomington passed an ordinance banning e-cigarette users from lighting up in most public indoor spaces.
The Minnesota Legislature passed scores of new laws this spring, and many of them take effect Tuesday. Here’s a look at some of the more notable.
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Minnesota senators have voted for a stringent set of electronic cigarette standards that would make their use unacceptable in any place regular tobacco is disallowed. The approach endorsed Thursday goes further than a House companion bill, so the two measures must be reconciled for any e-cigarette regulations to become law. A move to pare back the indoor air restrictions in the Senate bill failed on a 35-28 vote.
Supporters of defining electronic cigarettes in the same light as traditional tobacco products won a key round Monday in the Minnesota Legislature. By an 11-8 vote, lawmakers pushing for tough regulations on the fast-spreading devices defeated an effort to pare back their bill.
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.