House committee to hear bills proposing ban of e-cigarettes

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Hearings are scheduled for Wednesday in front of the House Health and Human Services Committee to address the possible restriction of electronic cigarettes in Minnesota, The Associated Press reports.

WCCO said one of the biggest proponents of stricter regulation is DFL State Rep. Phyllis Kahn. The representative's bill would amend 1973's Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act – which already bans traditional cigarette smoking in public places – to include e-cigarettes.

An e-cigarette user tells WCCO that a ban would hurt those who are trying to quit traditional smoking. The station says there are no conclusive medical studies on the health impact of e-cigarettes.

Another bill is asking to explicitly bar e-cigarettes in schools and give municipalities greater power to set sales parameters.

Instead of smoke, e-cigarette users inhale a vapor. However, the devices don't emit the chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes. But the battery-powered devices – which heat a liquid nicotine solution – have already come under scrutiny in several municipalities, counties and businesses across the state.

Target Field, for example, has completely banned e-cigarettes, while Hennepin County forbids the use of the devices on county-owned property. The city of Duluth won't allow people to use the devices inside most establishments.

In addition, the University of Minnesota is implementing a new policy in July that bans smoking tobacco or e-cigarettes, as well as chewing tobacco on university campuses in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Rochester and Crookston.

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