Minnesota continues its progressive agenda in guarding its citizens against the ills of smoking tobacco with the introduction of its Freedom to Breathe Act in the legislature. The Act—which has the qualified support of Governor Tim Pawlenty—would essentially ban all smoking statewide in public places and workplaces. Some listed exemptions include designated motel rooms and smoking rooms in tobacco shops. Private clubs (such as VFWs) would not be exempt, and Pawlenty acknowledges a bill absent that language might not get his signature.

In neighboring Wisconsin, Governor Jim Doyle recently stated his support of a statewide smoking ban in work places and in public places. Doyle also is pushing for a dramatic rise in the state cigarette tax (expected to increase from $0.77 a pack to up to a hefty $2.02 per pack).

Some local governments in both states have already passed smoking bans—including in restaurants and bars. If passed, statewide bans, it is argued, would level the playing field for businesses—as smokers would not be allowed to light up in any public establishment. A December 2003 poll of Minnesotans found only 23 percent smoked cigarettes (MN Poll), so libertarian-minded business interests will have their work cut out for them as they lobby against the legislation.

2 Comments

  1. Bob from ALAMN on January 30, 2007 at 6:56 am

    Iowa and North Dakota also have smokefree bills introduced or announced.



  2. Bob Williams on May 18, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Just found this post in a search. As an update, the feds recently approved a
    huge cigarette tax hike across the country which has created a rush of people
    that are trying to quit.

    The higher taxes may end up being incentive enough, but the nicotine in the
    cigarettes is outrageously addicting.

    For anyone that wants to quit but can’t, I was a smoker for 30 years at almost 2
    packs a day at my peak I tried a herbal
    quit smoking product and
    was successful. Some friends were able to do it with the patches. But the point
    is, smoking has become far too costly for your health AND your wallet. We need
    more effective solutions to help people quit.


    The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.


    The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.


    The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.


    The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.