The Wrath of Kahn: State rep. wants to ban e-cigarettes in public places


State Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, never afraid of taking controversial positions, is planning to introduce legislation next year that would prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes in public places.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that Kahn said her bill would amend the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, effective since 1973, which already bans traditional cigarette smoking in public places, to include electronic cigarettes in its definition of smoking.

Of course, the jury is out as to whether e-cigs cause any kind of health problems, especially to those who may be exposed to second-hand vapor, since the electronic versions release neither tar nor smoke to the person smoking it, let alone those around the area.

“If the e-cigarettes are an attraction and lead people into smoking, then there is clearly a negative effect,” Kahn tells MPR.

But most advocates say it is a smoking cessation tool, not a gateway drug to more nefarious nicotine delivery systems.

"Showing smokers quitting smoking is certainly not a bad example,” one e-cig proponents tells MPR. “It is not the government’s spot, outside of lewd conduct, to regulate the behavior of others based off of moral concerns.”

New Jersey, North Dakota and Utah are the only states to impose e-cigarette bans.

But, as BringMeTheNews has reported frequently, there is growing suspicion about the product.

Target Field imposed a ban in August.

Duluth approved a ban in September.

Finally, there's anecdotal evidence that e-cigarettes have been a boon for new businesses, but not so much for the state as far as tax revenue.

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