Smoking Regulations in Minnesota


Sections 144. 411 to 144.417 is cited as the “Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act”.[i]  The purpose of sections 144.411 to 144.417 is to protect employees and the general public from the hazards of secondhand smoke by eliminating smoking in public places, places of employment, public transportation, and at public meetings.[ii] 

In Minnesota, smoking is prohibited in public places, at public meetings, in places of employment, and in public transportation.[iii]  Smoking is also prohibited in day care centers, in family homes and in group family day care provider homes licensed under the Minnesota Rules, during its hours of operation.  Moreover, the proprietor of a family home or group family day care provider that permits smoking outside of its hours of operation must disclose to parents or guardians of children cared for on the premises about such permission.   Disclosure includes posting on the premises a written notice as well as oral information to parents or guardians.

Smoking is prohibited in any area of a hospital, health care clinic, doctor’s office, licensed residential facility for children, or other health care-related facility.  However, a patient or resident in a nursing home, boarding care facility, or licensed residential facility for adults may smoke in a designated separate, enclosed room.

Smoking is generally permitted for patients in a locked psychiatric unit, in a separated well-ventilated area in the unit under a policy that allows the treating physician to approve smoking.  In such cases, the treating physician should be of the opinion that the benefits to be gained in obtaining patient cooperation with treatment outweigh the negative impacts of smoking.

Smoking is prohibited in public transportation vehicles.  However the driver of a public transportation vehicle may smoke when the vehicle is being used for personal use.[iv]

There are a few places where smoking is permitted in Minnesota.  These include outdoor areas, private places, such as private homes, residences or automobiles.  However in such cases, these private places should not be used as places of employment.  Smoking is also permitted in hotels and motels; cabs of commercial motor vehicles; and in tobacco product shops at times when customers are sampling tobacco products.  Participants of approved scientific study and persons participating in traditional Native American ceremonies are also permitted to smoke. Smoking is also allowed during theatrical productions when smoking is done as part of the theatrical performance. [v]   

The proprietor or other person, firm, limited liability company, corporation, or other entity that owns, leases, manages, operates, or otherwise controls the use of a public place, public transportation, place of employment, or public meeting should make reasonable efforts to prevent smoking in the public place, public transportation, place of employment, or public meeting.  He should for this purpose post appropriate signs and ask any person who smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited to refrain from smoking.  If the person does not refrain from smoking after being asked to do so, the person in charge should ask such person to leave.  If the person refuses to leave, the proprietor, person, or entity in charge shall handle the situation consistent with lawful methods for handling other persons acting in a disorderly manner or as a trespasser.

The proprietor or other person or entity in charge of a public place, public meeting, public transportation, or place of employment must not provide smoking equipment, including ashtrays or matches, in areas where smoking is prohibited.[vi]

A proprietor, person, or entity that owns, leases, manages, operates, or otherwise controls the use of an area in which smoking is prohibited under sections, and who knowingly fails to comply with the regulations relating to smoking, is guilty of a petty misdemeanor. [vii]  A person who smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited or restricted is also guilty of a petty misdemeanor.

A proprietor, person, or entity in charge of a public place, public meeting, place of employment, or public transportation must not retaliate or take adverse action against an employee or anyone else who, in good faith, reports a violation of smoking regulation to the proprietor or person in charge of the public place, public meeting, place of employment, or public transportation.

A person or employer shall not discharge, refuse to hire, penalize, discriminate against, or in any manner retaliate against any employee, applicant for employment, or customer because the employee, applicant, or customer exercises any right to a smoke-free environment.

[i] Minn. Stat. § 144.411

[ii] Minn. Stat. § 144.412

[iii] Minn. Stat. § 144.414

[iv] Minn. Stat. § 144.414

[v] http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/mciaa/ftb/f2bgeneral.pdf

[vi] Minn. Stat. § 144.416

[vii] Minn. Stat. § 144.417