ST. PAUL, Minn., May 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Freedom to Breathe coalition, a group of Minnesota health organizations, responded today to the Legislature's passage of an omnibus bill that includes provisions restricting use and sales of e-cigarettes. The bill now heads to Governor Mark Dayton's desk.
Coalition co-chair Molly Moilanen, Director of Public Affairs at ClearWay Minnesota, said, "Our coalition is pleased to see reasonable, common-sense restrictions proposed for e-cigarettes, which have the potential to addict youth to nicotine and to sustain addiction for those who already smoke. We urge Governor Dayton to sign this bill into law."
The final bill passed by the Legislature requires child-proof packaging for all e-cigarette liquids, prohibits e-cigarette use in public schools, bans retail sales of the products from mall kiosks, requires them to be kept behind the counter in stores, allows local governments to pass stronger restrictions and ensures penalties for those who sell e-cigarettes to minors. The legislation also prohibits e-cigarette use in the following settings:
- Hospitals, health care clinics and doctor's offices;
- Most government-owned buildings (including correctional facilities);
- Any facility owned by the University of Minnesota or Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (including dorm rooms); and
- Licensed daycare facilities, including home daycares during hours of operation.
Earlier versions of the bill contained language that would have treated e-cigarettes the same as conventional cigarettes in the Freedom to Breathe Act, Minnesota's strong smoke-free law, but this language was not adopted in the final version.
"While we are disappointed the strongest proposal did not make it to the Governor, we were happy to see that e-cigarette use will be prohibited in several public places, especially those where children are present," said Moilanen. "We thank those lawmakers who fought hard to keep this bill as strong as possible throughout the process, especially its authors Senator Kathy Sheran and Representative Laurie Halverson."
She added, "The final compromise is truly a positive step for Minnesota."
Governor Dayton is expected to sign the legislation.
The Freedom to Breathe coalition is a group of Minnesota's leading health and nonprofit organizations who share a goal of maintaining the strong standard of clean air made possible by the Freedom to Breathe Act. Freedom to Breathe partners include: Allina Health, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association in Minnesota, Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Centra Care Health System, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, ClearWay Minnesota, Four Corners Partnership, HealthPartners, LAAMPP Institute, Local Public Health Association of Minnesota, Metro-MN Chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society, Minnesota Chapter of the American College of Physicians, Minnesota Medical Association, PartnerSHIP 4 Health, Southwest Community Health Improvement Program (C.H.I.P.) and Twin Cities Medical Society.
SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota