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Minnesota State Fair puts smokers in pens

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There's a lot to discover at the Minnesota State Fair: Bacon dipped in chocolate, busts carved from butter and the biggest gourd state soil can grow. But one thing you won't find much of this year: cigarette smoke.

Smokers have traditionally wandered among the thick throngs of people at the annual summer's end event that draws 1.7 million people. But no longer. The fair's board of managers has approved the creation of outdoor designated smoking areas, the Star Tribune reports.

The details were not immediately sorted out, including how the rule would be enforced, and how many spaces would be sprinkled around the 320-acre grounds, the newspaper reports. Smokers already had been banned in fair buildings and entertainment venues, including the grandstand.

A 2011 New England Journal of Medicine article notes that banning smoking in outdoor places has become a trend in the last decade.

In other action, the board approved $6 million in improvements to the Minnesota State Fair grounds in St. Paul.

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