This week, the Senate is expected to vote on a bill that would roll e-cigs into the "smoking" section of the Minnesota Clean Indoor Art Act, thereby banning vaping in indoor public places.
A companion bill in the House doesn't go as far, however. It'd prohibit vaping in public schools and sales to minors (in other words, "No Statutory Vape") but leave it up to business owners to decide whether to allow it in their establishments. (Read the Senate bill here and the House version here.)
Bob Moffitt, director of media relations for the American Lung Association in Minnesota, argues a blanket ban of e-cigs is in the best interests of service industry workers.
"It's really difficult for a bartender in a crowded bar to judge whether that's an e-cig or is that the real thing in the back of the room," Moffitt tells us.
Moffitt also cited health concerns in making his case for an e-cig ban.
"The more we learn about e-cigs, the greater the level of concern about accidental poisonings," he says. "I think the easiest and fairest way to do it is to treat all types of smoking the same, both e-cigs and regular smoking."
But some legislators aren't as sure as Moffitt about the health implications of vaping.
"I have not seen the scientific data that says this is dangerous if you're simply in the same room as someone using an e-cigarette," said Rep. Will Morgan (D-Burnsville), according to a Star Tribune report. "I'm a physics teacher. I think we should rely on science for decisions like that."
We got in touch with Gov. Dayton's press secretary, Matt Swenson, and asked whether the governor prefers the House or Senate versions of the e-cig bill. He replied with this email:
Governor Dayton strongly supports the provision in Sen. Sheran's bill that would prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, helping keep these products out of the hands of children. The Governor has some concerns about other provisions within the bill, which would prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in indoor public places. However, if a clean bill - that pertains only to the matter of e-cigarettes - is passed by the Legislature, the Governor would not veto it.In short, Dayton prefers the House version, which contains both of the provisions he specifically praises, but won't veto the Senate one if that's what emerges out of conference committee.