Secondhand Smoke Brochure

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Second Hand Smoke: Danger!

Secondhand smoke exposure occurs when nonsmokers breathe in tobacco smoke exhaled by smokers or when they breathe the smoke from burning tobacco products. The Environmental Protection Agency has classified secondhand smoke as a Group A carcinogen—an agent that is known to cause cancer in humans.  The Surgeon General has concluded that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Secondhand smoke contains dangerous chemicals that can damage the lungs and heart. It is known to cause heart disease and cancer in adult nonsmokers, and even brief exposure can trigger a heart attack or stroke. Secondhand smoke can also cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), respiratory infections, ear infections, and asthma attacks in infants and children.

Every year, exposure to secondhand smoke causes:

or lung cancer

Read the full article on the CDC website


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Nathan's Story

Nathan, a lifetime nonsmoker who participated in CDC's Tips From Former Smokers campaign, died at age 54 after years of secondhand smoke exposure where he worked.

Nathan tells his story (link to CDC video)


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Link to larger poster

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Almost one in three Minnesota adults reported being exposed to secondhand smoke when out in the community.

2014 MN Adult Tobacco Survey


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Minnesota's Clean Indoor Air Act: FAQ

What is the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act?

This is our state law that regulates where indoor smoking is permitted in Minnesota.  It was first passed in 1975.  It was amended in 2002 and 2007.

What is the Freedom to Breathe Act?

The Freedom to Breathe Act is the popular name for a a group of amendments to the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act. These amendments were passed by the legislature in spring 2007 and took effect October 1, 2007. The changes eliminated loopholes that had permitted smoking in places where people work such as bars and restaurants. Smoking is now prohibited in virtually all indoor workplaces and public places in Minnesota.

Where is smoking prohibited?

Smoking is prohibited in all places of employment where two or more people work, or volunteer to do what is normally paid work. Smoking is also prohibited in public places, on public transportation and at public meetings.

Indoor smoking is prohibited in:


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Does our state law cover smoking outdoors?

Minnesota's smoke-free law, the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act only regulates indoor smoking. It does not regulate smoking outdoors. Smoking that takes place outdoors is legal under our state law, even if the smoke drifts into a building through an open door or window.

Local governments retain the power to adopt stronger smoking laws. Currently there are no city or county smoking ordinances in Dodge, Goodhue, Rice or Steele counties.  Goodhue County has a policy restricting smoking to designated places on the grounds of county-owned buildings.

Business owners can establish a smoking policy for outdoor areas of their property such as an outdoor dining area at a restaurant. They can prohibit smoking on their property or limit smoking to designated outdoor places.

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How is Minnesota's smoke-free law enforced?

A violation of the new law is a petty misdemeanor with a fine of up to $300. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) may levy administrative penalties up to $10,000 per violation against businesses that violate the law. A bar or restaurant that violates the law may have its license suspended or revoked.

Your local Public Health Service provides assistance to the public, local businesses, and local law enforcement agencies with questions or concerns about potential violations.  Call the number below for your county:

Dodge County Public Health (507) 635-6150
Goodhue County Public Health Service

(651) 385-6100

(800) 950-2142

Rice County Public Health

Faribault: (507) 332 -6111

Northfield: (507) 645-9576 ext. 6111

Lonsdale: (507) 744-5185

Steele County Public Health Nursing (507) 444-7650


What are the responsibilities of proprietors?

Businesses must post “no smoking” signs at all entrances. Businesses must not provide smoking equipment such as ash trays or matches in indoor areas.

Proprietors must ask a person smoking in a prohibited area to stop smoking. If the person refuses to stop smoking, the proprietor must ask the person to leave. If the person refuses to leave the business, the proprietor should resolve the situation by calling local law enforcement for assistance with a disorderly person who is trespassing.

If a business is a bar or restaurant, the law prohibits serving food or beverages to a person who is smoking indoors in violation of the law.

Where can I get more information about the law?

Link to Minnesota Department of Health Freedom to Breathe page.



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Learn More - Links to Secondhand Smoke Resources:

2006 Surgeon General's Report on Secondhand Smoke

Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights

Association for Nonsmokers - Minnesota

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Minnesota Department of Health - Freedom to Breathe

Still A Problem


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