Smoking is slowly becoming illegal in Minnesota

No ifs, ands, or butts about it -- we're on the path toward banning smoking in all public places.
No ifs, ands, or butts about it -- we're on the path toward banning smoking in all public places.

One day after Gov. Dayton proposed a 94-cent increase in the state's cigarette tax, State Fair officials announced that smokers will be huddled into pens starting with this year's Great Minnesota Get-Together.

FROM OCTOBER: State smoking ban turns five today

In other words, smoking continues down the path toward criminalization, but in the meantime, government hopes to make as much money as it can from cigarette sales.

KSTP details Dayton's proposed cigarette tax increase:

Governor Mark Dayton is asking for a 94-cent increase in the state's cigarette tax, which he said would bring in an additional $370 million in new revenue. The request was made as part of Dayton's budget proposal...

"In state after state, when the tobacco tax has been raised, we've seen the amount of youth smoking go down markedly," said Bob Moffitt, communications director for the Minnesota chapter of the American Lung Association.

Anti-smoking advocates, and Gov. Dayton, insist the tax increase will decrease smoking rates, while also pumping money into state government.

"This is going to be something that really saves Minnesota a lot of money in the long term," Moffitt said.

However, the claim that higher cig taxes correlates with more revenue for the state is a controversial one, as we told you about last year in our "History suggests increasing Minnesota cigarette tax won't be as lucrative for state as some think" post.

Meanwhile, the Star Tribune provides more information about the State Fair's smoking crackdown:

The fair's board of managers over the weekend gave the go-ahead for the creation of outdoor designated smoking areas starting with the 2013 Great Minnesota Get-Together, whose attendance over 12 days totals nearly 1.8 million a year.

That means smoking in virtually all other open-air spaces on the 320-acre grounds will be banned. Smoking already was prohibited in fair buildings or in entertainment seating areas, such as the bandshell and the grandstand...

The fair is joining a growing list of public places -- among them municipal parks and college campuses -- with outdoor smoking restrictions.

The number and size of the State Fair smoking areas is yet to be determined.

Last year, smoking was banned at all Target Field events, including Twins games. Hell, even candy cigarettes have been kyboshed. Put it all together, and it makes us wonder -- what'll happen first, the outright ban of cigarette smoking in public places or the legalization of recreational pot?

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