Freedom to Breathe

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					Minnesota Department of Health Fact Sheet 	                                                June 2007
Freedom to Breathe
A summary of the Freedom to Breathe Provisions in the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act

Background                                                  •	 Common areas of rental apartment
The Freedom to Breathe (FTB) provisions were                   buildings and hotels
signed into law by Governor Tim Pawlenty on                 •	 Public transportation, including taxis
May 16, 2007, to protect employees and the                  •	 Work vehicles, if more than one person
public from the health hazards of secondhand                   is present
smoke. The FTB provisions are an expansion                  •	 Home offices with one or more on-site
of the current Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act                  employees, or used as a place to meet or
(MCIAA) that becomes effective on October 1,                   deal with customers
2007. This fact sheet explains the important                •	 Public and private educational facilities
provisions.                                                 •	 Auditoriums, arenas and meeting rooms
                                                            •	 Day care premises
The FTB provisions describe where smoking is                •	 Health care facilities and clinics
prohibited, outlines the responsibilities of
proprietors and lists facilities and                     Definition of “Indoor Area”
circumstances that are exempt from
                                                         “Indoor Area” means all space between a floor
                                                         and a ceiling that is bounded by walls,
                                                         doorways, or windows, whether open or closed,
Public Health Issue                                      covering more than 50 percent of the combined
Secondhand smoke is a leading cause of                   surface area of the vertical planes [wall space]
preventable death in the United States. In 2005,         constituting the perimeter of the area, whether
it was estimated that exposure to secondhand             temporary or permanent. A [standard] window
smoke in the United States kills more than               screen is not considered a wall.
3,000 adult nonsmokers from lung cancer and
approximately 46,000 from coronary heart                 The FTB provisions do not prohibit outdoor
disease.                                                 smoking, regardless of distance from building
                                                         openings such as doors, windows and
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is          ventilation intakes.
no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke causes premature death and
disease in children and in adults who do not             Responsibility of proprietors
smoke.                                                   Proprietors continue to play an important role
                                                         in controlling smoking in their place of
Smoking-prohibited areas                                 business. In general, they are required to:
                                                             •	 Post “No Smoking” signs
Smoking will be prohibited in virtually all
indoor public places and indoor places of                    •	 Ask persons who smoke in prohibited
employment, including:                                           areas to refrain from smoking and to
                                                                 leave if that person refuses to refrain
   •	 Bars, restaurants, and private clubs
                                                                 from smoking
   •	 Office and industrial workplaces
                                                             •	 Use lawful methods consistent with
   •	 Retail stores
                                                                 handling disorderly persons for patrons
                                                                 that refuse to comply
                        Minnesota Department of Health
                        P.O. Box 64975
                        St Paul, MN 55164-0975
2007 Freedom to Breathe – page 2 

     •	 Refrain from providing ashtrays and         In addition to the compliance authority
        other smoking equipment                     provided to MDH, local law enforcement has
     •	 Withhold service for noncompliant           the authority to issue petty misdemeanor
        patrons                                     citations to proprietors or individuals who
                                                    knowingly fail to comply.
Permitted smoking
The law does not prohibit smoking under the         Local government ordinances
following circumstances:                            Local governments will retain the power to
    •	 Approved scientific study participants       adopt more stringent measures to protect
    •	 Traditional Native American 
                individuals from secondhand smoke.

    •	 Private places, such as private homes,       Other provisions of the act
       private residences or private                  •	 Charitable gambling impact study. The
       automobiles when they are not being               state Gambling Control Board will
       used as places of employment                      prepare a report on the law’s possible
    •	 Tobacco product shops that allow                  impact on charitable gambling. The act
       customers to light tobacco in order to            requires the board to submit a report to
       sample the product                                the Governor and the Legislature before
    •	 Cabs of certain heavy commercial                  March 31, 2008.
       vehicles that weigh 26,001 pounds or
       greater                                         •	 Dislocated worker program; allocation
    •	 Farm trucks, implements of husbandry,              of funds. The Minnesota Jobs Skills
       and special mobile equipment, when                 Partnership Board will provide services
       they are being used for their intended             under the dislocated worker program to
       purpose                                            certain employees who become
    •	 Family farm buildings, provided certain            unemployed between October 1, 2007
       conditions are met                                 and October 1, 2009, because of the
    •	 Disabled Veterans Rest Camp in 
                   provisions of the act.
       Washington County 

    •	 Theatrical productions, that is, actors      For more information
       and actresses as part of the theatrical      Contact the Minnesota Department of Health to
       performance                                  receive a copy of the MCIAA, to file a smoking
                                                    complaint against a proprietor, or to request a
Compliance and Enforcement                          copy of the act in another format. Additional
As part of the Minnesota Department of              educational materials are available on
Health’s (MDH) compliance strategy, emphasis        secondhand smoke.
will be placed on educating the public and
business owners on the new provisions. MDH          Minnesota Department of Health
has compliance authority over the FTB               P.O. Box 64975
provisions and may delegate compliance              St. Paul, MN 55164-0975
activities to local units of government. To date,   651-201-4601
compliance issues with the Minnesota Clean          800-798-9050 (toll-free outside the metro area)
Indoor Air Act have been dealt with on a            651-201-5797 (TTY)
complaint-received basis. MDH anticipates a
similar compliance program as a result of the
FTB provisions.

Last updated 6/21/07

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