15-Minute Advocate: Support E-Cigarette Regulation

The House was expected to vote on e-cigarette regulation on April 9, but the vote has been postponed. Use the additional time to express support for a ban on indoor use to legislators and Gov. Dayton.
(Published Apr 9, 2014)

1. Get Informed.
The health and human services omnibus bills in both the House (HF 2402) and Senate (SF 2087) include language from SF 2027/HF 1931 (Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato, and Rep. Laurie Halverson, DFL-Eagan) regulating the sale and use of electronic cigarettes, also called e-cigarettes.

To prevent a patchwork approach to regulation and because of the health concerns of electronic cigarettes, the League of Minnesota Cities supports the addition of electronic cigarettes to the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act (MCIAA). The Senate version of the bill includes language adding electronic cigarettes to the MCIAA while the House companion does not. Both House and Senate bills include language prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, self-service sales, and use in public schools and would not pre-empt a local ordinance that provides for more restrictive regulation. The bills are now awaiting action on both the Senate and House floors.

On March 25, Gov. Dayton told the Star Tribune that proposals this year to ban the indoor use of electronic cigarettes may go too far. While the governor supports restricting the sale to minors, he is likely to oppose restrictions on indoor use. It is important that the governor hears from cities about their experiences regulating electronic cigarettes and the need for a statewide ban on indoor use.

2. Take Action.
City officials are encouraged to contact the governor’s office, House and Senate leadership, and their legislators in both the House and the Senate to express support for a statewide ban on indoor use of electronic cigarettes to avoid a patchwork approach to regulation.

Gov. Dayton: Mark.Dayton@state.mn.us or (651) 201-3400

Legislative leadership:

Find out who your legislators are and how to contact them

Talking points
It is important that legislators are aware of the importance of acting on this legislation at the statewide level. Share how your city has dealt with issues related to regulating e-cigarettes. Cities can also use the following talking points:

  • Because of potential health concerns and the current lack of regulation, at least 21 cities have passed ordinances on an individual basis that range from to whom they can be sold to prohibiting their use in public places. City ordinances that regulate e-cigarettes rely on this authority in state law to regulate the sale and licensing of e-cigarettes as a tobacco product under Minnesota Statutes, section 461.12, citing to Minnesota Statutes, section 609.685, subdivision 1. To ensure some uniformity and consistency across the state, the Legislature should include e-cigarettes in the MCIAA while preserving the ability of local governments to enact more restrictive ordinances.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) intends to issue a proposed rule extending the agency’s authority to regulate e-cigarettes as it does tobacco and tobacco products in the near future. The FDA does not consider e-cigarettes to be drugs or devices used for smoking cessation.
  • In 2007, the Legislature extended the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act (MCIAA) to cover all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. The law sets a floor with minimum standards and allows local governments to implement more restrictive ordinances.

3. Stay Involved.
If you get feedback from your outreach to lawmakers, or if you have questions on this issue, please contact Ann Lindstrom at alindstrom@lmc.org or (651) 281-1261.

Share your city’s ordinance(s), if applicable, or other actions and questions you have encountered at the local level on this issue.

Stay tuned to League resources for more information:

  • Subscribe to the League’s Capitol Updates email alerts for the latest information on this and other legislative issues.
  • Follow @AnnRL on Twitter for updates on this bill as it moves through the legislative process.
  • Follow #lmcleg on Twitter to stay in touch with the latest legislative action on this issue.
  • Contact the League with questions or feedback that you may get from your legislators.

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