By the end of the year it looks like there will be no more vaping allowed in any public buildings in Minneapolis.
Yesterday a City Council committee unanimously passed a measure that would extend the state's 2007 Freedom to Breathe Act to e-cigarettes. The new ordinance would treat e-cigarette smoke exactly like cigarette smoke.
About a dozen people on either side of the issue testified in an uncharacteristically thoughtful public hearing.
E-cigarette supporters said they shouldn't be unfairly lumped in with tobacco smokers when vape smoke hasn't been scientifically proven to be harmful. They also told personal stories about finally being able to kick their tobacco habit after years of addiction.
"I watched time after time after time customers come in and say, 'I haven't had a cigarette in two weeks, or I haven't had a cigarette two months,'" said one Burnsville vape shop employee. "Meanwhile 'maybe,' 'unknown,' those are words that were tossed up there when you talk about banning this. Why create a barrier for something that limits smoking?"
The sponsor of the ordinance, City Council Member Cam Gordon, said he would put in a provision to allow vaping to continue at e-cigarette shops, but otherwise the measure passed without much debate. The full City Council votes on it December 5.
At least e-cigarette aficionados can take solace in "vape" being selected as Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year yesterday.