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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Going Smoke-free in the Land of Lakes: Law and Politics in Minnesota Smoke-free Campaigns


Between 2000 and 2006, many Minnesota communities were engaged in protracted campaigns to pass ordinances that regulated smoking. Challenges were compounded in communities where multiple cities and counties shared regulatory power within what was, for economic purposes, a single population center. In 2005, ClearWay MinnesotaSM awarded the Public Health Law Center a two-year research grant to study the legal and political obstacles that seven multi-jurisdictional Minnesota regions faced in smoke-free campaigns over this six-year period. The purpose of our study was to examine the approaches regulatory authorities took in these campaigns; to analyze the significance of legal and political obstacles in obstructing or supporting progress toward smoke-free regulation; and to develop recommendations to help public health advocates, health organizations, policymakers, and legal professionals anticipate, avoid, and address these obstacles.

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