Minneapolis City Council members Andrew Johnson and Cam Gordon celebrate with coalition members after successfully passing an ordinance to prohibit use of electronic cigarettes where conventional cigarettes are prohibited, such as bars and restaurants.

Minneapolis City Council members Andrew Johnson and Cam Gordon celebrate with coalition members after successfully passing an ordinance to prohibit use of electronic cigarettes where conventional cigarettes are prohibited, such as bars and restaurants.

The Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota is working with a coalition of advocates to reduce the tobacco industry’s influence in Minneapolis. Through coalition efforts, we’ve found that electronic cigarettes and cheap, flavored cigars continue to be a big problem.

Since workplaces became smoke-free in 2007, clean indoor air has become the standard Minnesotans expect. In a recent poll, 79 percent of Minnesotans supported prohibiting e-cigarette use in indoor public spaces.

The coalition is comprised of NorthPoint’s Breathe Free North youth program and other youth-serving organizations, as well as public health agencies and nonprofits.

E-cigarette use in public places prohibited

On Dec. 5, 2014, the Minneapolis City Council continued its strong leadership in protecting the health and safety of its residents.

The City Council voted unanimously to prohibit electronic cigarette use in most public indoor spaces. The ordinance update means the use of electronic cigarettes is not allowed anywhere conventional cigarette use is also not allowed, such as restaurants and bars.

This ordinance change helps protect the general public from exposure to electronic cigarette emissions, which are known to contain ingredients that are harmful to human health. Further, this ordinance upholds a smoke-free norm and protects youth from exposure to these products, which is important given that electronic cigarettes are becoming popular with high school students. The recent Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey, released in November, shows 28 percent of high school students have tried e-cigarettes, and 13 percent have used or tried them in the past 30 days. Nearly a quarter of those who have tried e-cigarettes have never tried conventional tobacco products.

“We are thrilled that the Minneapolis City Council has taken this important step to protect Minneapolis workers, residents, and visitors” said Betsy Brock, Research Director for the Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota (ANSR).

ANSR is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the human and economic costs of tobacco. ANSR works closely with municipalities to strengthen and enforce local tobacco ordinances to protect youth.

Public hearing held

On Nov. 18, the Minneapolis City Council’s Health, Environment and Community Engagement Committee voted 6-0 to pass an ordinance including electronic cigarettes in its clean indoor air ordinance out of committee and on to the full council.

Here are photos of coalition members testifying for the ordinance:

Minneapolis Rep. Phyllis Kahn urges the Minneapolis City Council to support the ordinance. Kevin Lewis, executive director of the Building Owners &
Managers Association (BOMA) of greater Minneapolis, expresses his support for the ordinance. Dr. Lisa Mattson with the Twin Cities Medical Society testifies about the dangers of e-cigarettes. Gina Johnson, whose family owns a Minneapolis restaurant, speaks on behalf of the ordinance, which would protect servers and workers. Latrisha Vetaw, program director for Breathe Free North in north Minneapolis, talks about the prevalence of youth usage of e-cigarettes and the need for restrictions. Jasmine Rodewald-Jones, a member of the Minneapolis Youth Congress, talks about the need for the ordinance. Gail Arnold, a physician's assistant and  concerned parent, expresses her support for the ordinance. Dr. Mike Tedford testifies for the ordinance prohibiting e-cigarette use in public places. Dr. Stuart Hanson speaks about the harms of electronic cigarettes.
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Latrisha Vetaw, program director for Breathe Free North in north Minneapolis, talks about the prevalence of youth usage of e-cigarettes and the need for restrictions.

Check out the coverage from local news sources:

Star Tribune

MPR

Bring Me the News

Southwest Journal

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