Smoking in Licensed Residential Healthcare Facilities - EH: Minnesota Department of Health

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 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.

Prohibited Smoking

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.

Permitted Smoking

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:

  1. Smoking is allowed only for patients and residents of a facility. Facility staff, volunteers and guests are banned from smoking indoors in these facilities.
  2. Smoking must be limited to a designated separate, enclosed room. No smoking is allowed in rest of the facility.
  3. A sign must be posted at each entrance to the facility that states: “Smoking is prohibited, except in designated areas.”
  4. 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 home follow the same protocol as nursing homes. The basis for this is rooted in Minnesota Rules, part 4655.9000.

Supervised Living Facilities
may permit smoking in a designated separate, enclosed room. Mechanical ventilation is required in order to comply with Minnesota Rules 4665.0200, subparts 2 and 5, and Minnesota Rules, part 4665.1400.

Residential Hospices
may permit smoking within the facility (Minnesota Rules, part 4664.0520). The licensure rule references the MCIAA and Minnesota Rules, part 4620.1200. The rule permits smoking in a bedroom provided that complying mechanical ventilation is installed. If the facility chooses not to permit smoking in bedrooms, it may construct a designated smoking room. The designated smoking room must have the same mechanical ventilation required in a smoking-permitted bedroom. Information about ventilation requirements can be found in Minnesota Rules, part 4664.0520, subpart 3.

Adult Foster Care Facilities
(defined in MN Chapter 9555, Rule 203) 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).

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 14:14:38 CDT