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Smoke Free News for June 2014

In this issue:

Share walls, not smoke!

Have you seen one of our ads in your area? We recently launched a four-month outdoor advertising campaign. We are using signs on transit buses and a billboard to increase awareness that secondhand smoke is still a problem for people who live in multi-unit buildings like apartments and townhomes.

Our state law permits smoking in individual living units in multi-unit buildings. Tobacco smoke can travel through cracks and gaps in walls and ceilings into neighboring apartments. We are working with landlords in our area to help them adopt smoke-free policies for their buildings.

We have already received some positive feedback about our outdoor ads. We are so excited that we are holding a contest.

Enter Our Contest

and Win!

Like Facebook? Like winning prizes? Enter our contest and you could win a $50 gift certificate to the local restaurant of your choice. There will be three more prizes: $40, $30 and $20. Win our contest and enjoy a delicious meal at your favorite local restaurant.

Here’s how to enter. Look for one of our “Share walls, not smoke!” ads on a bus or billboard. There is at least one outdoor ad in each of our four counties. Note the time of day and location where you see our ad. Go to our Facebook page (Four Corners Partnership) and look for our contest post. Add your own comment to our post. Be sure to include the time of day and the location where you saw our outdoor ad. That’s all you have to do!

The contest will start on June 20 and end on July 4. All entries will be put into a random drawing for the prizes. The winners will be announced on our Facebook page on July 7.

Please! Only one contest entry per person per day. Good luck!

Get full contest details: click here



New Laws Passed in MN for Smoke-Free Foster Care

and to Regulate

Electronic Cigarettes

Four Corners Partnership coalition members meet with Rep. Tim Kelly in the rotunda of the Capitol.

The legislative session had a lot of ups and downs for the tobacco prevention world this year. This “unsession” led to some significant improvements in protecting Minnesotans from the harms of tobacco and nicotine addiction.

The Four Corners Partnership joined tobacco control grants all over the state on April 8th for a Day At The Capitol. Each county brought volunteers to speak with their Representatives and Senators on the harm of electronic cigarettes and secondhand smoke in foster care. We encouraged them to vote yes on common sense regulations to protect us from the unknown dangers of electronic cigarettes and to vote yes on protecting foster children from secondhand smoke that they could be exposed to.

Youth and children in foster homes represent one of Minnesota’s most vulnerable populations. Unfortunately, foster children are more likely to have pre-existing medical conditions before being placed into a home. Placing a child diagnosed with asthma or other medical conditions in a home where someone smokes will only make the situation worse and possibly life threatening.

Fortunately, a new law has been passed that adds a smoke-free environment to the list of requirements for foster homes. This will help to ensure the children have a safe and healthy environment; one that will be free from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Another win from the state was on electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarette usage has increased dramatically in the past 12 months. There had not been any nationwide or statewide regulations on these devices, so people could “vape” where ever they pleased. There was much debate whether electronic cigarettes should be included in the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, ultimately they were not. While this was disappointing, the legislature did prohibit use of e-cigarettes in:

  1. Government-owned and operated buildings
  2. Child Care Facilities
  3. Hospitals and Clinics
  4. K-12 Schools
  5. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities along with the U of MN’s campus buildings

The Four Corners Partnership believes these wins will reduce the harm that tobacco and nicotine are causing us on a state wide level. We will continue to work at the local level to reduce the use of electronic cigarettes, help implement smoke free foster care, and reduce tobacco’s harm.



Two HRA’s Going Smoke-Free on July 1


Two local Housing and Redevelopment Authorities (HRA’s) will be implementing 100% smoke-free policies in all of their apartments and townhomes on July 1, 2014. Currently, residents are permitted to smoke inside their apartments. Tobacco smoke can move throughout the building. After July 1, the residents, guests and staff in these buildings will no longer be exposed to secondhand smoke.

The Southeastern Minnesota Multi-County HRA (SEMMCHRA) board voted on April 16, 2014 to adopt a smoke-free policy for all of their apartment and townhome properties. They own one property in Dodge County, seven in Goodhue County, eight in Wabasha County and three in Winona County.

The Red Wing HRA board voted to adopt a smoke-free policy for their family units on April 18, 2014. Jordan Towers I and II have had a smoke-free policy since 2009. The new policy will apply to all of the HRA’s family units and also to the Bluffview Townhomes, which are managed by the HRA.

The Four Corners Partnership presented information on secondhand smoke and smoke-free policies to both boards prior to their votes. The staff and board members of both HRA’s were concerned about exposure to secondhand smoke and also about the added cost of refurbishing a unit that has been lived in by a smoker. We are working with the staff of both HRA’s to help them implement their new policies.



Smoke-Free Housing Workshops Held in Owatonna and Cannon Falls

Cannon Falls smoke-free housing workshop.

We continued our series of smoke-free housing workshops. The workshops are in a “Lunch and Learn” format and take place over the noon hour. While these are primarily intended for property managers and owners, anyone with an interest in learning more about smoke-free housing policies is welcome to attend.

Workshops were held on April 29 in Owatonna and on May 29 in Cannon Falls. The guest speakers for both workshops were Kara Skahen, director of the Live Smoke Free program and Warren Ortland, an attorney from the Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law. They have many years of experience helping landlords across Minnesota to successfully implement smoke-free policies. Our workshops provide a rare opportunity for local landlords to get their questions about smoke-free policies answered by the experts.

Two more workshops will be held in the fall in Mantorville and Faribault. Watch our website and Facebook page for more information.




Smoke-Free News Archives

Read recent editions of the Smoke Free News

January 2014 - read newsletter

October 2013 - read newsletter


August 2013 - read newsletter

January 31, 2013 - read newsletter

November 29, 2012 - read newsletter