Smoking by Scientific Study Participants - EH: Minnesota Department of Health

Scientific Study Participants
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 Smoking

Participants in scientific studies may be allowed to smoke or use electronic delivery devices indoors only if all of the following criteria are met:

  1. The study must be peer reviewed and related to the health effects of smoking.
  2. A policy must be established by the study administrator to minimize exposure of nonsmokers to smoke.
  3. The smoking policy must be submitted, in writing, to the Commissioner of Health for approval. The policy must be approved, in writing, by the Commissioner before indoor smoking is allowed.
  4. Smoking may only be allowed in a designated, separated room ventilated at a rate of 60 cubic feet per minute per person.
  5. A sign must be posted at each entrance to the study facility that explains “Smoking is prohibited, except in designated areas.”
  6. A sign must be posted at the entrance to each designated smoking area stating “Smoking permitted” or displaying the international smoking-permitted symbol.

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 14:15:05 CDT