Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act
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Environmental Health Division
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
The MCIAA does not prohibit smoking or the use of electronic delivery devices within individual sleeping rooms rented to one or more guests. The proprietor may elect to prohibit smoking or the use of electronic delivery devices in guest sleeping rooms.
Areas Where Smoking is Prohibited
Smoking or e-cigarette use is not allowed in all other indoor areas of lodging establishments, including, but not limited to restaurants, bars, lounges, lobbies, entrances, hallways, laundry rooms, meeting rooms, banquet halls, game rooms, exercise rooms and indoor swimming pool areas.
If smoking is allowed in any guest sleeping room, the proprietor is required to post a sign stating “Smoking is prohibited, except in designated areas,” on or immediately inside of each building entrance. In addition, the proprietor must post a sign on each smoking-permitted guest sleeping room that displays the international smoking-permitted symbol or states “Smoking Permitted.”
If an establishment’s policy prohibits smoking everywhere in the building (including guest sleeping rooms), a sign must be posted at each building entrance that states “No Smoking” or “No Smoking is permitted in this entire establishment.”
Responsibilities of Proprietors
Employers and facility managers continue to play an important role in controlling smoking in their place of business. In general, where smoking is prohibited, they are required to:
- Make reasonable efforts to prevent indoor smoking
- Post “no smoking” signs
- Ask person smoking indoors to stop and to leave if they refuse to do so
- Use lawful methods to handle any person who refuses to comply after being asked to leave
- Refrain from providing ashtrays or other smoking equipment
- Refuse to serve noncompliant persons
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
Local governments have the authority to adopt and enforce more stringent measures to protect individuals from secondhand smoke.
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.