MINNEAPOLIS, June 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Freedom to Breathe coalition, a group of Minnesota's leading health organizations, responded to new restrictions on e-cigarettes that were passed during the 2014 Legislative Session and will be enacted tomorrow.
"Minnesota is leading the nation in taking steps to regulate e-cigarettes, which have the potential to addict youth to nicotine," said coalition co-chair Molly Moilanen, Director of Public Affairs at ClearWay Minnesota(SM). "These reasonable restrictions will help to protect kids from the tobacco industry, which has a history of targeting youth."
The three largest tobacco companies – Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard – offer their own e-cigarette lines, but they are not subject to the same advertising and marketing restrictions as conventional cigarettes. A recent study showed a more than 250 percent increase in youth exposure to e-cigarette marketing between 2011 and 2013. An overwhelming amount of that advertising – 80 percent – was from blu eCigs, owned by Lorillard.
E-cigarettes also are not subject to flavoring restrictions like conventional cigarettes and are sold in kid-friendly flavors like gummy bear and cotton candy. Research shows that flavored tobacco products appeal to children and teens, and a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study recently showed an increase in the number of kids using these products.
Effective tomorrow, the new law prohibits e-cigarette use in schools, requires them to be kept behind the counter in retail stores and ensures penalties for those who sell to minors. Other provisions in the bill, banning sales of the products from mall kiosks and requiring child-resistant packaging on e-cigarette liquids, will be enacted later this year and early in 2015.
Additional provisions that take effect tomorrow will protect Minnesota's clean indoor air by prohibiting e-cigarette use in many public places, including:
- Hospitals, health care clinics and doctor's offices;
- Most government-operated 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.
"The new restrictions are a step in the right direction," said Moilanen. "We applaud the many communities across the state that have gone further by prohibiting e-cigarette use in all indoor public places, including bars and restaurants. They are a model for others and we hope the state will follow their example next session."
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 Freedom to Breathe Coalition