Smoking and Farming Operations - EH: Minnesota Department of Health

Farming Operations
Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act

The Freedom to Breathe (FTB) provisions amended the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act (MCIAA) further protect employees and the public from the health hazards of secondhand smoke. These provisions went into effect on October 1, 2007. In 2019, the MCIAA was amended again to expand the definition of smoking to include vaping, the use of electronic delivery devices (also known as e-cigarettes or vapes). 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 intended for inhalation. As of August 1, 2019, this definition includes carrying or using an activated electronic delivery device.

Definition of "Indoor Area"

“Indoor Area” means a space between a floor and a ceiling that is 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.

Permitted Indoor Smoking Areas

Smoking and e-cigarette use is permitted at all times within indoor areas of farm buildings, such as home offices, garages and barns, if ALL of the following criteria are met:

  1. The business is engaged in farming as defined in Minnesota Statute section 500.24, Subdivision 2, paragraph (a)
  2. The farm meets one of the following definitions provided in Minnesota Statutes, section 500.24, subdivision 2:
    1. Family Farm, paragraph (b)
    2. Family Farm Corporation, paragraph (c)
    3. Family Farm Partnership, paragraph (j), or
    4. Family Farm Limited Liability Company, paragraph (i)
  3. The family farm employs no more than 2 non-family persons

Smoking and e-cigarette use is also permitted in the cabs of vehicles registered with the Minnesota Department of Transportation under the following categories: heavy commercial vehicles with a total gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds, farm trucks, implements of husbandry and special mobile equipment.

Prohibited Indoor Smoking

Smoking or the use of electronic delivery devices is not allowed within indoor areas of buildings on farms that do not meet the definition of family farm outlined above.

Responsibilities of Management

Farm employers play an important role in controlling indoor smoking at their place of business. In general, where smoking is prohibited, they are required to:

  • Post “No Smoking” signs
  • Ask persons who smoke in prohibited areas to stop and to leave if they refuse
  • Use lawful methods to handle any person who refuses to comply after being asked to leave
  • Refrain from providing ashtrays and other smoking equipment

Outdoor Smoking

The MCIAA does not prohibit outdoor smoking, regardless of the distance from building openings such as doors or windows. The law does not address the drift of smoking coming from the outside. Some cities and counties have local ordinances that restrict smoking by entrances.

Compliance and Enforcement

MDH has compliance authority over the MCIAA and may delegate compliance activities to local government. Complaints about alleged violations of the MCIAA can be directed to the MDH Indoor Air Unit at the contact information listed at the end of this factsheet. Failure to comply with the MCIAA can lead to enforcement action, including up to a $10,000 fine.

In addition to the compliance authority provided to MDH and local units of government, local law enforcement has the authority to issue petty misdemeanor citations to proprietors or individuals who knowingly fail to comply with the MCIAA. 

Local Government Ordinances

Other governments have the authority to adopt and enforce more stringent measures to protect individuals from secondhand smoke.

Retaliation 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.

Updated Wednesday, 24-Jul-2019 14:13:23 CDT