Minnesota House passes bill to ban indoor vaping

The bill, which would greatly expand the indoor smoking ban, now heads to the Senate.
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Vaping is officially one step closer to being just as unwelcome as cigarettes in public spaces.

The state House of Representatives on Thursday passed HF349, which would change the existing Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act to include "activated electronic delivery devices” — aka e-cigarettes — in the ban on indoor smoking.

That means vaping would no longer be legal "on public transportation, at public meetings, in places of employment, health care facilities and clinics, public schools, state and local government buildings, buildings owned by public colleges and universities, and other facilities," according to the Minnesota Legislature's Session Daily. 

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Laurie Halverson (DFL-Eagan), has cited the recent rise in teen vaping —  which the FDA called an "epidemic" last year — as an impetus in bringing about the legislation.

It passed by a wide margin (100-25), but it did have some vocal opposition.

As Session Daily notes, Rep. Pat Garofalo (a Republican from Farmington) said the bill would infringe on "personal choices," and compared such laws to a "nanny state."

But the measure seems to have serious bipartisan support, with four Republicans listed as co-authors of the Senate's version of the bill — which will now move forward thanks to the passage of HF349 in the House.

It's not clear when, exactly, the Senate will vote on it.  

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