[MMA News Now, May 15, 2014]
E-cigarette use could be significantly restricted if a bill that passed through the Health and Human Services policy omnibus conference committee this week continues to progress toward the governor’s desk.
The legislation calls for a ban on e-cigarettes in hospitals, health care clinics and doctor’s offices; licensed residential facilities for children, or other health care-related facility; buildings owned or operated by the state, home rule charter or statutory city, county, township, school district or other political subdivisions (including correctional facilities); any facility owned by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and the University of Minnesota; any facility licensed by the Commissioner of Human Services; any facility licensed by the Commissioner of Health (but only if the facility is also subject to federal licensing requirements); and licensed daycare facilities, including home daycares during hours of operation.
Language that would have included the devices in the state’s Freedom to Breath Act and thus restricted their use in bars and restaurants was cut in conference committee. Although members of the committee favored the language, House leaders said they wouldn’t have the votes to support it in a floor session.
“We wish we could have included e-cigarettes in the Freedom to Breath Act,” said Eric Dick, MMA’s manager of state legislative affairs. “But, this is a very good start. We’re making great progress. ”
The final bill also includes provisions that prohibit e-cigarette sales from mall kiosks and requires child-resistant packaging on e-cigarette liquids.
Plus, the bill prohibits e-cigarette use in public schools; bans self-service (requiring e-cigarettes to be sold from behind the counter with all other tobacco products); provides statutory authority to local units of government to licenses and regulate the sales of e-cigarettes; and expands the prohibition on and the penalties for sales to minors to include all electronic delivery devices (in addition to nicotine delivery devices which was first passed in 2010 under the Tobacco Modernization and Compliance Act).