Hennepin County's new e-cigarette ban is more strict than state law

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People will no longer be allowed to smoke e-cigarettes inside most public places in Hennepin County.

The county board of commissioners voted 6-1 Tuesday to restrict the use of e-cigarettes in work places, restaurants and bars, KSTP says. The ban will go into effect March 10, SW News Media says.

Jeff Johnson was the only commissioner to vote against the ban, SW News Media reports, saying there's little evidence the shows they're harmful, so he erred on the side of private property rights.

The board's action treats e-cigarettes like actual cigarettes, banning them in all public places consistent with the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, county board minutes show.

This ban is more restrictive than the state ban on e-cigs. State law prohibits smoking electronic delivery devices in some indoor places – government buildings, public schools, day care centers and most health facilities – but doesn't ban them from every place cigarettes are prohibited.

Cities across the U.S. and the world have restricted where e-cigs can be used. Here's a look at the cities and counties in Minnesota that have banned indoor e-cig use (as of December 2014):

Supporters say such bans are a win for public health and hope others will eventually do the same, while opponents say the ban is based off false information and sends the wrong message, KSTP says.

E-cigarette producers and some health experts say e-cigs are safer than smoking regular cigarettes, Bloomberg reports, and some use the product – which has less nicotine and fewer added chemicals – as a way to quit smoking altogether.

But others working in the health field say the long-term effects of smoking e-cigs is not yet clear, the Star Tribune says, and there is worry the growing popularity of the product may glamorize smoking again, leading non-smokers to pick up the habit, Bloomberg notes.

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