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Smoke Free News for November 2015

In this issue:

Red Wing Tobacco Win
After some ups and downs at the Red Wing City Council, the Council members voted unanimously, on October 12th, to treat electronic cigarettes like traditional cigarettes. This win will mean electronic cigarettes cannot be used in restaurants, bars, and other places where you can’t smoke cigarettes. This policy was passed due to the concerns of those who do not use e-cigs and might be exposed to their vape indoors. As of November 3rd 2015, 46 percent of Minnesotans are covered by clean indoor air policies that include e-cigarettes.

This win also included updating Red Wing’s Youth Access ordinance to state minimum, adding e-cigs to the definition of tobacco products, and creating proximity to sell tobacco 1000 feet from schools and day care centers. “The idea behind updating the tobacco retailer ordinance is to make it harder for youth to get their hands on tobacco products” said Gina Johnson, ClearWay MN Coordinator. “About 90 percent of smokers start before the age of 18 and we need to help decrease that.”

In the upcoming months we will begin updating and strengthening Goodhue County’s Youth Access ordinance and creating a Clean Indoor Air policy. This would cover townships outside of the City limits such as Welch. Currently, there are no tobacco licenses, so the sooner we can start working on this the better.

Altogether, we are hoping to get 9 more cities and 3 more counties to update and strengthen their tobacco ordinances. A big thank you to those who helped us get these updates and changes made!

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Smoke-Free Housing Workshop Popular with Landlords

The Four Corners Partnership hosted a free workshop for landlords at Culver’s of Northfield on October 29, 2015. This "Lunch and Learn" was a popular event with 16 landlords attending. While they ate lunch the landlords learned about current trends in smoke-free housing policies in Minnesota.
The host for this event was Tracy Ackman-Shaw of Rice County Public Health. She introduced two guest speakers, both from St. Paul - Kara Skahen, director of the Live Smoke Free program and Warren Ortland, a staff attorney from the Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law. Both speakers are nationally recognized experts on smoke-free housing policies.
Kara explained how adopting a smoke-free policy for an apartment, townhome or condo will save the owners money and provide a healthier environment for residents and staff. Warren covered legal issues related to smoke-free housing policies and shared some best practices that landlords can use when adding a smoke-free policy to their leases.  Tracy moderated a Q & A session after the presentations.
The Four Corners Partnership will be offering more workshops like this in the spring of 2016. We also work with landlords one-on-one and have a staff person at the public health office in each of our four counties. There is no cost to landlords for our help to implement a smoke-free policy.

Smoke-Free Housing Staff


Office Phone

Alicia Schumacher

Dodge County Public Health

(507) 635-6157

Tom Wolff

Goodhue County Health & Human Services

(651) 385-6142

Tracy Ackman-Shaw

Rice County Public Health

(507) 332-5921

Jane Nyquist

Steele County Public Health

(507) 444-7661

Four Corners Partnership smoke-free housing work is funded by a grant from the Tobacco-Free Communities Program of the Minnesota Department of Health.



Smoke-Free Policy at Steele County Free Fair Needs More Discussion

This year, the Steel County Free Fair implemented a new smoke-free policy. Cigarette smoking and the use of electronic cigarettes was limited to designated smoking areas on the fairgrounds.

The Steele County Free Fair joined a growing list of smoke-free fairs, including the Minnesota State Fair. Some other nearby fairs with smoke-free policies include the Olmsted County Fair and the Dakota County Fair.

The Four Corners Partnership had a display at the Steele County Free Fair. We asked fairgoers to complete a survey to give us their feedback on the new smoke-free policy.

Here are some key findings from our survey:

  • 37% were not aware of the new policy.
  • 35% were bothered by secondhand tobacco smoke while they were at the fair.

This comment was written on a survey: Daughter almost got hit in the face by a cigarette this year while walking.

We were surprised to see that so many fairgoers were bothered by tobacco smoke while they were at the fair. The fair staff will need to do more work to improve public awareness about the new policy.  Another contributing factor may have been the large number of designated smoking areas on the fairgrounds.

There were 13 designated smoking areas at the fair this year - 12 for the general public and 1 for carnival employees:

  • 59% of our survey takers said that there were too many designated smoking areas.

We will share our survey results with the Steele County Fair Board.




Survey Shows That Fairgoers Want Tobacco-Free Fairs
The Four Corners Partnership had displays this summer at the Dodge County Fair, Goodhue County Fair and Rice County Fair. We asked fairgoers to complete a short survey about smoking at the fair. None of these three fairs have a policy about smoking on the fairgrounds.

Some key findings from the surveys are:

  • 80% attend their county fair every year or nearly every year.
  • 93% do not use tobacco products while they are on the fairgrounds.
  • 85% said that the fairgrounds should be tobacco-free, including e-cigarettes.

Many people wrote comments on their surveys about how smoking on the fairgrounds impacted their enjoyment of the fair. Here are some of these comments:

  • It is gross to have smoking in areas with children and food.
  • Just not enjoyed as much - couldn't breathe.
  • Made us leave.
  • Left early with my kids.
  • Bad. People smoked by my kids.
  • Made it less enjoyable.
  • I had to leave the area and I got a coughing attack because it affected my asthma.
  • Makes me not want to come.

We will share our survey results with the county fair boards in Dodge, Goodhue and Rice counties.









Smoke-Free News Archives

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April 2015 - read newsletter


January 2015 - read newsletter


October 2014 - read newsletter


June 2014 - read newsletter


January 2014 - read newsletter

October 2013 - read newsletter


August 2013 - read newsletter

January 31, 2013 - read newsletter

November 29, 2012 - read newsletter