Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act
The Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act (MCIAA) is a state law that describes where smoking is prohibited, outlines the responsibilities of employers, managers, and other persons in charge and lists exemptions that affect their workplaces and facilities.
In 2019, the MCIAA was amended to expand the definition of smoking to include electronic delivery devices, also known as e-cigarettes or vapes. The amendment protects employees and the general public from hazards to secondhand smoke and involuntary exposure to aerosol or vapor from e-cigarettes. The amendment is effective on August 1, 2019.
Definition of "Smoking"
The MCIAA defines smoking as inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, pipe or any other lighted or heated product containing, made or derived from nicotine, tobacco, marijuana, or other plant, whether natural or synthetic, intended for inhalation. As of August 1, 2019, this definition includes carrying or using an activated electronic delivery device, such as e-cigarettes or vapes.
Definition of “Indoor Area”
“Indoor Area” means a space between a floor and a ceiling that is at least 50% enclosed by walls, doorways or windows (open or closed) around the perimeter. A wall includes retractable dividers, garage doors, plastic sheeting or any other temporary or permanent physical barrier. A (standard) window screen is not a wall.
Where is e-cigarette use prohibited?
Smoking and e-cigarette use is prohibited in virtually all indoor public places and indoor places of employment, including:
- Bars, restaurants, and private clubs
- Office and industrial workspaces
- Retail stores
- Common areas of rental apartment buildings, hotels and motels
- Public transportation, including taxis
- Work vehicles, if more than one person is present
- Home offices with more than one on-site employees, or used as a place to meet or deal with customers—during work hours
- Public and private schools, educational facilities
- Auditoriums, arenas, meeting rooms
- Day care premises
- Health care facilities and clinics
Where is e-cigarette use permitted?
The MCIAA does not prohibit smoking or e-cigarette use in the following locations or circumstances:
- Outdoor smoking, regardless of distance from building openings
- Private places, such as private homes, residences or automobiles when they are not being used as a place of employment
- Sleeping rooms of hotels and motels
- Cabs of commercial motor vehicles that weigh over 26,000 pounds
- Family farm buildings, farm trucks and equipment, if certain conditions are met
- Patients of licensed residential healthcare facilities in designated separate, enclosed areas that meet applicable regulations
- Patients in a locked psychiatric unit in a separated well-ventilated area, as approved by the treating physician
- Tobacco product shops- when customers are sampling tobacco products
- Approved scientific study participants
- Traditional Native American ceremonies
- Theatrical productions, that is, actors and actresses who are smoking as part of the theatrical performance
- Disable Veterans Rest Camp in Washington County
What are the responsibilities of proprietors?
Employers and facility managers play an important role in controlling smoking and e-cigarette use in their place of business. In general, they are required to:
- Make reasonable efforts to prevent indoor smoking
- Post “no smoking” signs
- Ask person who smoke in prohibited areas to refrain from smoking and to leave if they refuse to do so
- Use lawful methods consistent with handling disorderly persons or trespassers for any person who refuses to comply after being asked to leave the premises
- Refrain from providing ashtrays and other smoking equipment
- Refuse to serve noncompliant person
Compliance and Enforcement
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has compliance authority over the MCIAA and may delegate compliance activities to local units of government. MDH, a local board of health or any affected person can request a court order directing a repeat MCIAA violator to stop.
In addition, local law enforcement has the authority to issue petty misdemeanor citations to proprietors or individuals who knowing fail to comply with the MCIAA.
Retaliation is Prohibited
An employer, manager or other person in charge cannot fire, refuse to hire, penalize, discriminate or retaliate against an employee, applicant or customer who exercises any right to a smoke-free environment provided under the MCIAA.