Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act
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Environmental Health Division
Licensed Residential Healthcare Facilities
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 nicotine delivery devices (also known as e-cigarettes or vapes). The amendment is effective on August 1, 2019. On August 1, 2023, adult-use cannabis was legalized in Minnesota. Vaping and smoking cannabis products is included in the definition of smoking under the MCIAA. Minnesota's cannabis law and local ordinances have additional requirements regarding the use of these products in the indoor environment. For more information, please contact the Office of Cannabis Management.
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.
Except for the situations described in the next section, smoking and the use of electronic delivery devices is prohibited in all indoor areas of healthcare-related facilities.
Note: The MCIAA does not prohibit smoking in private residences that provide foster care for children or adults. However, the MN Department of Human Services licensing regulations do prohibit children in foster care from being exposed to secondhand smoke.
Unless a facility has adopted a campus-wide smoke-free policy or is subject to a local ordinance, patients, or residents of nursing homes, boarding care facilities and licensed residential facilities for adults are permitted to smoke or use e-cigarettes within a designated separate, enclosed room maintained in accordance with applicable state and federal laws.
The following requirements apply to all such licensed residential healthcare facilities:
- Smoking is allowed only for patients and residents of a facility. Facility staff, volunteers and guests are banned from smoking indoors in these facilities.
- Smoking must be limited to a designated separate, enclosed room. No smoking is allowed in rest of the facility.
- A sign must be posted at each entrance to the facility that states: “Smoking is prohibited, except in designated areas.”
- The designated smoking room must have a sign posted at the entrance that states “Smoking Permitted” or displays the international smoking-permitted symbol.
Applicable state and federal requirements
Nursing Homes are permitted to be either “smoking-permitted” or “smoke-free.” Where smoking is permitted, smoking is restricted to a designated room that includes mechanical ventilation in accordance with Minnesota Rules, parts 4658.4515 and 4658.4520.
Boarding Care Homes (Minnesota Rules 4655) follow the same protocol as nursing homes.
Licensed Assisted Living Facilities prohibit indoor smoking except in a designated separate, enclosed room maintained in accordance with applicable state and federal laws. (MN Statute 144.414 subd. 3)
Supervised Living Facilities may permit smoking in a designated separate, enclosed room in accordance with Minnesota Rules part 4665.5200.
Residential Hospices may permit smoking within the facility (Minnesota Rules, part 4664.0520). Bedrooms where smoking is allowed must have adequate exhaust ventilation as defined in Minnesota Rules, part 4664.0520, subpart 3.
Adult Foster Care Facilities (defined in MN Chapter 9555) and Community Residential Settings (defined in MN Statute 245D) are regulated by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. There is no specific rule language regarding smoking in these facilities. Smoking is permissible in accordance with the MCIAA (in a designated separate, enclosed room).
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.
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.