Smoking as Part of Theatrical Productions - EH: Minnesota Department of Health

Smoking as Part of Theatrical Productions
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.

Theatrical productions are public events that are held in public places. As such, members of the public and employees, with the exception of actors and actresses in the production, are prohibited from smoking within all indoor areas where a theatrical production is taking place.

Smoking Prohibited

Theatrical productions are public events that are held in public places. As such, members of the public and employees, with the exception of actors and actresses in the production, are prohibited from smoking within all indoor areas where a theatrical production is taking place.

Smoking by Actors & Actresses

Actors and actresses are permitted to smoke or vape as part of a theatrical production only when notice is provided as follows:

  • Theater patrons must be notified in advance that smoking will take place as part of the production, and
  • Performance programs must include a written notice that smoking will occur as part of the theatrical production.

Responsibilities of Proprietors

Employers, managers and other individuals in charge continue to play an important role in controlling smoking. In general, they are required to:

  • Post “No Smoking” signs at all building entrances.
  • Ask person who smoke in a prohibited area to stop and to leave if they refuse to do so.
  • Use lawful methods to handle individuals who refuse to comply after being asked to leave.
  • Refrain from providing ashtrays and other smoking equipment in smoking-prohibited areas.

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.

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.

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 14:15:22 CDT