IPCPR Legislative | Restrictions in Minnesota

Restrictions in Minnesota


Smoking, Age and Sampling Restrictions in Minnesota

Minnesota law prohibits smoking: in public places, including restaurants, bars, any other food or liquor establishment, retail stores and other commercial establishments, educational facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, auditoriums, arenas, meeting rooms, and common areas of rental apartment buildings; at public meetings; in places of employment, including public conveyances, factories, warehouses, offices, retail stores, restaurants, bars, banquet facilities, theaters, food stores, banks, financial institutions, employee cafeterias, lounges, auditoriums, gymnasiums, restrooms, elevators, hallways, museums, libraries, bowling establishments, employee medical facilities, and rooms or areas containing photocopying equipment or other office equipment used in common; in public transportation, including light and commuter rail transit; buses; enclosed bus and transit stops; taxis, vans, limousines, and other for-hire vehicles other than those being operated by the lessee; and ticketing, boarding, and waiting areas in public transportation terminals; in day care centers, family homes, and group family day care centers; and in hospitals, health care clinics, doctor’s offices, or other health care-related facilities.


Minn. Stat. § 144.413: Definition.
Minn. Stat. § 144.414: Prohibitions.
Minn. Stat. § 144.4165: Tobacco products prohibited in public schools.


The proprietor or other person, firm, limited liability company, corporation, or other entity that owns, leases, manages, operates, or otherwise controls the use of a public place, public transportation, place of employment, or public meeting shall make reasonable efforts to prevent smoking in the public place, public transportation, place of employment, or public meeting by:


  • posting appropriate signs or by any other means which may be appropriate, and
  • asking any person who smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited to refrain from smoking and, if the person does not refrain from smoking after being asked to do so, asking the person to leave. If the person refuses to leave, the proprietor, person, or entity in charge shall handle the situation consistent with lawful methods for handling other persons acting in a disorderly manner or as a trespasser.


Minn. Stat. § 144.416: Responsibilities of proprietors.


Minnesota state law does not regulate outdoor smoking.


Nothing in the Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits a statutory or home rule charter city or county from enacting and enforcing more stringent measures to protect individuals from secondhand smoke.


Minn. Stat. § 144.417(4): Local government ordinances.




The following are exempt from the ban on smoking, subject to conditions:

  • Patients or residents in a nursing home, boarding care facility, licensed residential facility for adults, and locked psychiatric units, provided that smoking is only allowed in separate, designated, and well-ventilated areas
  • Drivers of public transportation vehicles, when the vehicle is being used for personal use
  • Participants in peer reviewed scientific studies related to the health effects of smoking
  • Traditional Native American spiritual or cultural ceremonies
  • Private places, including private homes, private residences, or private automobiles when they are not used as places of employment
  • Tobacco products shops, when tobacco is lit by a customer or potential customer for the specific purpose of sampling tobacco products.
    • A “tobacco products shop” is a retail establishment with an entrance door opening directly to the outside that derives more than 90% of its gross revenue from the sale of loose tobacco, plants, or herbs and cigars, cigarettes, pipes, and other smoking devices for burning tobacco and related smoking accessories and in which the sale of other products is merely incidental.
    • “Tobacco products shop” does not include a tobacco department or section of any individual business establishment with any type of liquor, food, or restaurant license.
    • Staff reported that the Minnesota Department of Health does not issue any type of approval to allow smoking in tobacco products shops. Staff also clarified that the smoking exemption is not intended to allow for smoking lounges or business models based on profiting from permitting smoking.
  • Cabs of heavy commercial vehicles
  • Farm vehicles and construction equipment
  • Houses, garages, barns, and other buildings on a family farm, if several conditions are met
  • Theatrical productions


Minn. Stat. § 144.413: Definition.
Minn. Stat. § 144.414: Prohibitions.
Minn. Stat. § 144.4167: Permitted smoking.

Individuals under 18 years of age cannot possess, smoke, chew or otherwise ingest, purchase, or attempt to purchase tobacco, tobacco-related devices, or electronic delivery devices or use any type of false identification to misrepresent the person’s age.


Minn. Stat. § 609.685: Sale of tobacco to children.


There is no state restriction on age for selling tobacco products. Localities may have age restrictions.


Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry: Child labor – prohibited work for minors


Similarly, it is illegal for any person to sell or furnish tobacco, tobacco-related devices, or electronic delivery devices to a person under 18 years of age.


Minn. Stat. § 609.685: Sale of tobacco to children.


No person shall offer for sale tobacco or tobacco-related devices, electronic delivery devices, or nicotine or lobelia delivery products in open displays that are accessible to the public without the intervention of a store employee. However, this prohibition does not apply to retail stores which derive at least 90 percent of their revenue from tobacco and tobacco-related devices and where the retailer ensures that no person younger than 18 years of age is present, or permitted to enter, at any time.


Minn. Stat. § 461.18: Ban on self-service sale of packs; exceptions


Nothing in state law supersedes or precludes the continuation or adoption of any local ordinance that provides for more stringent regulation of youth access to tobacco products.


Minn. Stat. § 609.685(4): Effect on local ordinances.

Federal regulations prohibit free samples of cigarettes and limit free samples of smokeless tobacco products to certain age-restricted venues under several conditions.


Regulations Restricting the Sale, Distribution, and Marketing of Cigarettes, Cigarette Tobacco, and Smokeless Tobacco: Consumer Fact Sheet


In Minnesota, no person may distribute smokeless tobacco products or cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, or other tobacco products, except that single serving samples of tobacco may be distributed in tobacco stores.


Minn. Stat. § 325F.77(4): Promotional Distribution


A person who distributes free tobacco product samples is liable for the payment of the tobacco tax.


Minn. Stat. § 297F.05(2): Distribution of free sample packages.


Distribution of tobacco products samples is subject to licensing requirements because “sale” is defined to include gifts or samples provided for advertising or promotional purposes, made by a person engaged in the selling of cigarettes or tobacco products.


Minn. Stat. § 297F.01(16)


Minnesota law contains no specific provisions concerning state preemption of local tobacco sampling laws, so local communities may pass more stringent laws or ordinances in this area.

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