Where there's smoke, there's e-cigs: retailers fire up new stores


The number of retailers selling electronic cigarettes is growing rapidly.

The Star Tribune reported Anoka County has the highest concentration of retailers selling the devices, with five stores in Blaine, three in Coon Rapids, two in Anoka, one in Ramsey and one in Fridley. Woodbury, Hopkins and Shakopee have issued licenses for e-cig stores. The newspaper account said that city staffers estimate that there are four or five shops in Minneapolis that sell e-cigarettes, and St. Paul city staffers said they know of three new e-cig stores.

There are few regulations for retailers who want to get into the business to follow. In most Minnesota cities, they only need a license and storefront. That has prompted action by some municipalities; Hopkins passed a yearlong moratorium on additional e-cigarette rooms after its first opened this fall.

Because the devices don’t contain tobacco, they don’t fall under the state’s clean-air act, meaning individual bars, restaurants and retailers set their own rules about "vaping." This week, Bloomberg reported that the growing popularity of e-cigs is forcing companies them to review their smoking policies. Many companies do not have rules prohibiting the practice in the workplace. The story cited web developer Adam Gray, 27, who has his boss’s approval to use e-cigs at his desk in his Minnetonka office.

“It makes him more productive and sets him on a path for better health,” said Paul Hanson, chief operating officer of TrackIF LLC, a firm that monitors price changes across the Web.

Hennepin County already bans the use of e-cigarettes on county property. Earlier this month, MPR reported that State Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis plans to sponsor a law in the next session that would prohibit the use of the e-cigarettes in public places. Her bill would amend the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act to include e-cigarettes in its definition of smoking. Kahn said a state law would bring more consistency than the multiple regulations implemented by local governments.

New Jersey, North Dakota and Utah have already imposed e-cigarette bans.

Next Up


Pair escape uninjured as plane crashes moments after takeoff

It crashed about a half mile southwest of Faribault Airport.

Screen Shot 2021-04-22 at 4.12.50 PM

For The Week: Making cocktails at home? Here's how to do it right

Lindsay Guentzel's For The Week column features simple food and drink tips.

coronavirus, covid-19

Mayo Clinic study provides 'best guess' about pandemic's future in MN

Minnesota could be seeing decreasing numbers into the summer if the study is correct.

daunte wright funeral - siblings

Mourners remember Daunte Wright, plead for justice

Wright was killed by a now-former Brooklyn Center police officer on April 11.


HealthPartners: COVID hospitalizations driven by unvaccinated, middle aged adults

The health provider says the average age of its hospitalized patients is trending downwards.

Andrew Thomas booking photo

Man suspected of shooting at National Guard in Minneapolis faces more charges

He has now been charged in Hennepin County District Court with more serious crimes.


Investigation finds EPA mishandled oversight for PolyMet mine permits

A new report found the EPA didn't follow its own procedures when it submitted comments on the proposed project.


MDH's new COVID guidance urges weekly testing for those involved in sports

Those not involved in school sports are still advised to get tested every two weeks.

Trey Lance

With loaded QB draft class, now is the time for Vikings to act

With a strong class, this year might be the time to select Kirk Cousins' successor.