Controversy persists one year after smoking ban

Indoor smoking
Opponents of the smoking ban say it's hurting small bars and restaurants, and infringes on people's right to use a legal product.
Photo by Chris Furlong/Getty Images

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Minnesota's Freedom to Breathe Act.

The law prohibits smoking in nearly all public work places in the state, including bars and restaurants.

Alicia Bauman is with the group Smoke Free Communities in St. Cloud. On Tuesday her group unveiled an "awareness display" that contains personal stories of central Minnesotans and what the law has meant to them.

"Mothers of children with asthma that are now able to have their birthday parties in bowling allies, to musicians that play in local bars that are now able to go to work without their inhaler," Bauman said.

Bauman said before the law took effect, non-smoking Minnesotans were being unnecessarily exposed to dangerous chemicals in second-hand smoke, including more than 50 that have been linked to cancer.

Opponents of the smoking ban say it's hurting small bars and restaurants, and infringes on people's right to use a legal product.

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