Minnesota Is Now Smoke-Free

Today, 1 October 2007, a state-wide smoking ban took effect in my state. A major success for public health and especially employees’ health, this law puts major restrictions on indoor smoking in public places with relatively few loopholes. Bars, restaurants, and almost all other indoor locations are included. Private residences, hotel and motel rooms, cigar shops, and casinos and other establishments on Native American lands are exempt. As is well-known, there is an enormous body of scientific data indicating the harm smoking causes to bystanders. Those who work in establishments where smoking is permitted are especially at risk. As attention to public health mounts, smoking bans cover more and more of the United States—at the city, county, and state levels. According to Wikipedia, over half of Americans are covered by some sort of smoking ban.

Wikipedia also featured this interesting map of the United States, showing active and scheduled smoking bans. It uses an innovative “additive color key” to designate the type of ban.

Map of American smoking bans
State-wide smoking bans. Credit: Mike Schiraldi.

The gray states have no state-wide smoking bans. The red states, Idaho and Georgia, ban smoking in restaurants; the green ones (North and South Dakota) ban smoking in non-hospitality workplaces (that is, not restaurants or bars); and the yellow states (Nevada, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Florida) ban smoking in both. The lavender state (New Hampshire) bans smoking in bars and restaurants. The white states ban smoking in all three: bars, restaurants, and non-hospitality workplaces.

10 thoughts on “Minnesota Is Now Smoke-Free

  1. In addition to the statewide bans – many of the grey States do have cities/towns or municpalities that individually ban smoking in public places. North Carolina is so dominated by the tobacco lobby that it is the only State to have passed legislation forbidding any city/town/minicipality to ban any type of smoking – the legislators disguise thier cooalition with the tobacco lobbyists as “not tampering with individual rights”
    Soon NC will have the highest death toll and the highest medcal bills per capita of any State.

  2. → Jd2718 It certainly is interesting to see the geographic distribution! Now we need Minnesota’s neighbors to join in as well!

    → Dailytri Thanks! I’m really impressed with some of the graphics Wikipedia manages to generate.

    → Pat Really?! That’s disappointing to hear. Smokers should get the same rights as anyone else—the right to breathe clean, safe air wherever they go, and the right to engage in behaviors so long as they don’t harm others.

  3. Scotland passed comprehensive smoke free legislation that came into effect in March 2006. At the time, many were sceptical, including a siginificant proportion of the media. But one year after the ban was introduced, the Scotsman newspaper (which had been highly critical at the time) printed this in its editorial:

    “…a year on, the absence of smoking in public has become not just normal, but common sense. We are more tempted to ask: ‘Why was smoking not banned before?’ than to reminisce about a lost past.”

    It’s been incredibly successful and popular. Among the legislators who passed this law, it is frequently cited as the piece of legislation of which they are most proud.

    Congratulations to Minnesota!

  4. As you know, the internal combustion engine generates many noxious fumes and other harmful emissions – not just harmful to the driver, or to passersby… to the entire world. So private car ownership should be banned, right? Only absolutely essential delivery driving should be allowed, right? The general public should walk everywhere, or cycle, or use ethically-justifiable, electrically-powered public transportation, right?

    If you don’t agree, then why the [edited] you pissing and moaning about cigarette smoke?

  5. Please moderate your language, Martin.

    I absolutely agree that automobile driving should be discouraged and that walking and cycling should be promoted. However, this situation is not analagous to that of cigarette smoking.

    Automobile use is strongly entrenched in our society; an outright ban as you suggest would not be practical. Furthermore, automobiles perform essential functions of transportation.

    However, the outright ban of cigarettes is not what I’m discussing here; it’s the restriction of using cigarettes in public places only. And cigarettes are used only for the sense gratification of the user. This makes the justification of an ethical analogy of cigarettes and automobiles rather tenuous.

  6. Captain Hook, it’s good to see that the smoking ban has turned out so well. I suspect that a similar result result will happen here—eventually, we will marvel that smoking was ever allowed inside public buildings. It is not unlike the amusement we feel when we see pictures of doctors and others smoking inside hospitals, which is of course unthinkable now!

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