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News Summary

After three years, smoking ban compliance better than expected

Publication Date: 7/28/2010
  • Author:Mark Steil
  • Publication:Minnesota Public Radio

Minnesota Health Department officials say compliance with the state's nearly three-year-old indoor smoking ban has been better than expected.

Since the smoking ban took effect on October 1, 2007, 326 people have reported smoking violations to the state. That's less than what department officials anticipated, said John Olson, the department's enforcement coordinator for indoor air.

"It's gone quite well," he said. "We've had fewer complaints than we expected, we've had better compliance."

Olson said state health officials got an indication early on that most people would obey the smoking ban when there were fewer than expected complaints during the first nine months the ban was in effect.

"If you would have told me that we'd only have 168 complaints, I would have been pleasantly surprised," Olson said.

Since then, violations have fallen steadily. They dropped to 65 in the year ending last month. Olson said one reason for the wide-ranging compliance is that the state's active pursuit of illegal indoor smoking sent a message.