5 x 8: Mind if I vape?


The Minnesota Twins have banned e-cigarettes before anyone has done enough studies to determine whether the vapors are harmful to anyone. WCCO reports the ballclub recently added the “nooooo e-cigarettes” announcement to its patented no-smoking advisory, leading some to wonder why not?

“It just smells like what you’re vaping on, so if you’re vaping on lemonade, it just smells like lemonade,” the owner of an e-cigarette shop said.

The move to e-cigarettes corresponds not only to the smoking ban, but also to the recent increase in the state’s cigarette tax.

“We don’t know what they are emitting into the air.” Anne Joseph, a tobacco researcher at the University of Minnesota, tells the Charlotte Observer.

That’s enough for an outright ban on them, reasons the Bloomberg editorial board, although those who disagree note that plenty of products emit more chemicals into the air than e-cigarettes. And, ironically, Target Field is downwind — sometimes — from a Hennepin County garbage burner.

More stadium rules: Women strike back against the new NFL rules banning purses. (h/t: John Olson)


We know. The empty nest can be a cruel thing, as many parents are about to find out when they send the last formerly little one off to college in a week or so.

Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson acknowledges the obvious in his column today, fellas.

But with due respect to my son’s feelings, I have the worse of it. I know something he doesn’t — not quite a secret, but incomprehensible to the young. He is experiencing the adjustments that come with beginnings. His life is starting for real. I have begun the long letting go. Put another way: He has a wonderful future in which my part naturally diminishes. I have no possible future that is better without him close.

There is no use brooding about it. I’m sure my father realized it at a similar moment. And I certainly didn’t notice or empathize. At first, he was a giant who held my hand and filled my sky. Then a middle-aged man who paid my bills. Now, decades after his passing, a much-loved shadow. But I can remember the last time I hugged him in the front hallway of his home, where I always had a room. It is a memory of warmth. I can only hope to leave my son the same.

No truer words were spoken than the ones that you heard so often you rolled your eyes when the kid first came home from the hospital: They grow up so fast.

Related: Parenting: Letting go & moving on (Minnesota Prairie Roots)


First it was too wet. Now it’s too dry. The crop was expected to be poor. Then it was expected to be the second-best ever. Now it’s behind schedule.

This farming stuff is tough stuff. So why don’t older farmers just give up and do something else?

  1. Listen Older Farmers Seem To Be In No Hurry To Call It Quits

    August 20, 2013


There’s nothing better for a college freshman than hearing “your tuition this semester is on the house.”

At Ball State, Markus Burden, 18, got a chance at free college by taking a basketball shot during the school’s “welcome week” festivities.

That’s an $11,000 bucket.

5) HATE 101

Who would send a letter like this?


The letter was sent to the grandmother of a 13-year-old Max Begley’s in Newcastle, Ontario, on Friday. It has had unintended consequences, however. The neighbors have united to try to find out who sent it.

Bonus I: In South Dakota, Beef Jerky, Swimming, and a Search for Spiritual Relief. (Deborah Fallows)

Bonus II: Winonan Gary Dare papers the town with planes.

Bonus III:
It’s National Radio Day.

What do you think of the new endangered species list for Minnesota?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Rep. Tim Walz and Rep. Collin Peterson.

Second hour: An update on the Minnesota Orchestra lockout.

Third hour: In her first book, Coming Up Short, Jennifer Silva suggests that current media depicts the struggles of millenials from the perspective that they all come from upper-middle to upper-class backgrounds. From her own experiences and based on her research, she found a whole class of millienials who similarly struggle in finding employment and financial stability. However, these millennials tend to not have the same safety net or choices their counterparts have. The Daily Circuit will talk with Silva and Nona Willis Aronowitz about their research and what they would suggest to ensure America doesn’t let a group of young people fall through the cracks.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): From the Aspen Ideas Festival: The director of the Centers for Disease Control, Tom Frieden on “What Does the CDC do to Protect You?”

The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – The Conflict in Egypt: A Proxy for Competing Ideologies in the Middle East.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – The HBO. series Treme provides a taste of everyday peoples lives in post-Katrina New Orleans. And it’s inspired a book that can provide an actual taste of their legendary, everyday cuisine. Recipes from the shows characters make up the Treme cookbook. One of writers behind that book and the show joins NPR’s segments to talk about the flavor of New Orleans.

  • MrE85

    1) A lot (but not all) of these e-cig gizmos look like the real thing. Target Field doesn’t want its ushers and security guards to have to chase down everyone emitting a cloud to see if they are smoking. Many e-cig advocates promote them as “smoking cessation devices,” but no major medical or heath organization does. Finally, these candy flavors sure sound like the same tactics Big Tobacco uses to hook kids on smoking, via the “little cigars.” No thanks. You made the right call, Target Field.
    5) No words. At least none that I can share here. I pity the letter’s author.
    TQ: Can a bald eagle hunt be far behind?

  • KTN

    Although the letter may have been sent with serious intent, nobody could take it seriously – I mean really, its a screed with the exclamation point locked!!!!!!!!!!
    I do hope they find the writer – nothing like a little public humiliation and scorn to disinfect.

  • Paul Weimer

    I have to believe there are more good people in the world,people with positivism and willing to build a better world, than people like the letter writer. Else, we would still be thinking stone tools were a neat idea.

  • MrE85

    The comments on the WCCO story are pretty much what I have come to expect. The e-cig advocates usually swarm in, then someone make a completely ridiculous health claim, the Libertarians have their say, someone blames Liberals/Democrats/Obama, one commenter supports the move, and then whole cycle begins again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    • Les.Tracking

      I use an e-cig. It would sooner be mistaken for a sonic screwdriver from Dr. Who before somebody thought it was a real cigarette. However, this isn’t my point. I don’t use it where smoking is not allowed. Pretty simple. What’s really tough is that I’m usually thrown into the smoking ghetto, which is pretty awful. I have used it to quit smoking “real” cigarettes, and being forced to hang around people smoking kind of defeats the purpose for me. But that’s MY issue, not the Twins – they’re not obligated to provide a vaping section for me.

      There’s a very active subreddit on vaping (http://www.reddit.com/r/electronic_cigarette/), and the majority of these folks side with the “non-smoking” folks. You’ll find them incredibly reasonable and willing to answer questions.

      When you discuss something that impacts people’s addictions, they’re going to lean a bit on the “unreasonable” side. Drugs do that to people.

      Personally, I would rather there was a “No perfume/body spray” section, as that causes more environmental damage that water vapor with food flavoring.

      • MrE85

        If you read this story from last year, you’ll see that the Target Field restrictions on e-cigarettes are nothing new:


        • Les.Tracking

          Again, it’s their propagative. If it’s that important to me, I’ll not go. Honestly, it’s not that important to me (but neither is baseball).

          • MrE85

            Spoken like a reasonable person. 😉 Many of you know who I am and where I work, but for full disclosure, I’m the communications director for the American Lung Association in Minnesota.

          • Les.Tracking

            “Spoken like a reasonable person”
            Drat. I need to use all caps more.

          • MrE85


        • What’s new, as the post said, is the announcement.

      • Cara

        I’m entirely for the no perfume/body spray section. Perfume, while sometimes delightful, is often overdone, and causes or exacerbates migraine headaches. The problem with perfume is that the wearer can’t smell it.

  • Gary F

    We need people to buy cigs in Minnesota! How are we going to keep the DFL’s spending habit going!

  • Sean Collins

    @MrE85:disqus I agree it makes sense to ban them at Target Field or somewhere where security would have to check what it is every time they see a cloud, but I cannot agree with outright banning them everywhere. I actually recently(3 weeks) quit smoking tobacco for one of these e-cigs. You are right that many advocates will say they are “smoking cessation devices”, but on mine as well as the other brand I looked at the product itself makes it very clear that they have not been tested or evaluated for this purpose. I however have managed to go from 22mg of nicotine a day (1pack), to 16mg cartridges that i don’t finish in one day and now I just started with 8mg ones. My point is that it is at least serving that purpose for me, but my case is not the norm. Though the failure rate on quitting tobacco with any form of step down nicotine delivery approach is high because of how insidious nicotine really is.

    Some of the flavors are outrageous in that they seem very kid targeted. I even got one that tastes like scope and freshens my breath oddly enough, but just because a flavor does appeal to children doesn’t mean adults don’t like candy or fruit flavors. Not to mention if your a non smoker and you want an e-cig almost every brand sells them in nicotine free varieties, so its not like you would be starting an addiction by trying one.

    @Everyone (Random facts): In regards to chemicals in e-cigs being safe: 80% of e-cigs are based on propylene glycol(PG). This chemical is more then likely pretty bad for you, so non-smokers will more then likely want to be no where near it. Though from a smokers perspective your health risks from PG are no where near the health risks from regular smoking. Obviously it wouldn’t be ideal to replace 1 thing that increases cancer risk then another but its still a far better option then ciggarettes are.

    The remaining 20% of e-cigs, and the one i have personally, are based on Vegetable Glycerin(VG). It is hype-allergenic, non-carcinigeic and classified by the US FDA as “generally recognized as safe”. This does not mean it causes 0 health issues for anyone, but if it does cause any most of the country is in trouble since it is also found in Sugar substitute, makeup, mousse, shampoo, bubble bath, after shave, deodorant, pet food, soap, skin and hand cream, baked goods… The list goes on. I honestly hope they go ahead and ban PG based e-cigs and require all e-cigs to be VG based, because at that point the oxygen you breathe living anywhere near a city is far worse for you then some guy walking by with an e-cig.

    • MrE85

      “I cannot agree with outright banning them everywhere” That’s good, because we have never advocated that for e-cigarettes, or the for real thing, for that matter. The Target Field rule just seems like common sense.

      “Some of the flavors are outrageous in that they seem very kid targeted” I couldn’t agree more.

      “the oxygen you breathe living anywhere near a city is far worse for you then some guy walking by with an e-cig” We work on cleaner outdoor air, too. Hence the silly Discus handle.

      • Sean Collins

        “That’s good, because we have never advocated that for e-cigarettes, or the for real thing, for that matter.”

        Interesting, as a smoker(Knock on wood continued ex-smoker), I hated the ban on indoor smoking because it inconvenienced me. But in that case I 100% understand because of the horrible proven health risk to others. In the e-cigs case that threat isn’t really there, but they get banned anyway because it seems like it might be a cigarette? Where do you draw the line?

        You took that second quote out of context a little bit. The point was kids like candy and fruit flavors, but I’m an adult and my favorite e-cig flavors so far are Peach and Vanilla Cupcake. Just because a kid might like it as well doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist. Not to mention if I had children I would much rather they start smoking cupcake flavored e-cig then an actual cigarette. As I pointed out he already washes himself with the same chemical and then pours himself a bowl of cereal and eats it too….

        “We work on cleaner outdoor air, too”

        I hope we continue to try hard on that issue, but we wont be banning breathing oxygen in the city anytime soon, will we?

        • MrE85

          “Not to mention if I had children I would much rather they start smoking cupcake flavored e-cig then an actual cigarette.”
          You might feel differently if they took the reverse path, and used the e-cig as a gateway to tobacco. I can’t speak from experience, but I’m told being a father changes things. I can just image my Dad’s reaction if I stuck an e-cig in my mouth in his presence. He’s on oxygen now. Heart issues.

          “but we wont be banning breathing oxygen in the city anytime soon, will we?”
          No. But that ground-level ozone is some nasty stuff.

  • killershrew

    I saw someone smoking an e-cig at Target Field a couple weeks ago. It was the first time I saw someone smoking one and didn’t know what it was. He was using the “pen style” e-cig, which looks a bit like a cross between a calligraphy pen and the smoker’s end of a hookah. I googled it since I didn’t know what it was and discovered that there are lots of people who are hacking e-cigs for illicit uses. In that light, I completely understand Target Field’s ban on them. IANAL, but I suspect that if they allowed people to partake in federally illegal activities on their property, it would create legal liabilities for them. It’s easier for them to just ban it outright.

    • Les.Tracking

      People are “hacking” water bottles to carry vodka as well.

      • And that’s why security makes you empty your water bottles before bringing them inside the ballpark. Once you’re in, you can refill them from the various jugs or fountains located throughout the facility.

        • Speaking of which, I notice the Twins will sell you bottled water with the cap on, while the Timberwolves will not allow the cap to remain on the bottle. Why is that? I’m just trying to keep up with all these threats, you see.

          • Well, the Timberwolves make their concessions workers remove the caps so we can’t throw them onto the court, even though the likelihood of anyone reaching the court with one is awfully low. I guess the Twins are less concerned about that?

          • mason

            I think stadiums take away caps because a full bottle with a cap is easier to throw onto the field/court.

    • Sean Collins

      I refuse to believe that the risk of potheads finding another brand new way to get high had anything to do with this ban. The bottom line is people are ignorant on the subject, it looks like smoke, this makes people afraid and therefore they are being banned in public places.

      Echoing the basic message I had in my comment below. You have already inhaled and touched a large list of far more “dangerous” chemicals just today before you made that comment, then the vapor that comes out of an e-cig.

      • Sean Collins

        ….Not to mention washed yourself with and then digested the e-cig vapor chemical.

        • Les.Tracking

          Oh… That’s what you do. I’ve been doing it wrong. 🙂

          • Sean Collins

            Best nicotine delivery is directly through the skin….

            Obvious sarcasm is obvious.
            You already know, but once again for everyone else; The chemical that is e-cig vapor is in soap, shampoo and cereal.

  • Joe D

    (2) We are still in the “Pay for Stuff” category but with each day I realize how difficult it probably was for my parents when I went away to begin my walk down the trail of adulthood. We all hope to leave a lasting impression that carries on through future generations so that one day our children’s children’s children’s can tell the stories of their ancestors at a time when some advice from our past can assist or enlighten those in the future. They truly do grow up fast…

    (3) Having grown up on a farm in a farming family…that is what they know how to do and is “in their blood” and has defined them for generations.

  • This week I’m going to work at the State Fair booth of MPR. And right across the street, probably, will be the pork chop wagon which — if the wind is blowing right — gives us a steady diet of pork chop smoke. And people will say, “gee, isn’t the state fair great?”

    A lot of us will barbecue up some brats, oblivious to the fact that barbecued meat is more likely to cause cancer. And we’ll inhale the smoke and say “isn’t that great?”

    We’ll pump gas at the pump and breathe in the vapors. We’ll head into the pollution of our cities. We’ll take our shirts off to soak up the ultraviolet light that’s likely to give us skin cancer.

    It’s kind of ridiculous right now to draw the line in the sand at something that smells like lemonade because we don’t know if it’s bad for us when we ignore what’s bad for us all the time if we personally happen to like it.

    We could have a more honest debate . We just don’t like people who smoke… or whatever they use to try to stop smoking.

    Why is it so hard to just say it?

    As far as kids and Target Field and e-cigs — See the big Budweiser sign in left field. Hear the concession people from start to finish yelling “beer… beer…. beer?” I wonder what kids learn with that?

    Oh, hey look,another Twins player just accidentally swallowed his tobacco chew while booting a ground ball.

    Spare me the “we care about health,” Twins.

    • MrE85

      I can’t speak for the Twins and their motivations. I can speak for myself, and for the view of the organization I work for.

      What I like or dislike has nothing to do with the proven health risks of tobacco, and our organization’s decades of work to reduce the death and damage it causes. But since the subject is e-cigarettes, there is scant evidence (personal testimonials don’t count) that these gizmos are of any value whatsoever as smoking cessation tools. I’ve already pointed out the enforcement problems they can cause businesses trying to follow the rules regarding smoking, either indoors or outdoors.

      So I’m not going to say I don’t like people who smoke… or whatever they use to try to stop smoking. Because that’s not what I believe. Honest!

      • Is there scant evidence they don’t have value as smoking cessation tools?

        • MrE85

          Err, that they HAVE value as smoking cessation tools. Thank God for copy editors. Yes, a few small-scale studies here and there, with different conclusions. Not nearly enough to be added to the list of thing we know work.

          • I think some studies are certainly in order. Now that we’ve waited until it’s too late to declare that — surprise — global warming is caused by humans, we’ve got a little bit of time to do them and the scientists who haven’t had their research stripped from them because of the sequester appear to have some availability. :*)

    • Jen

      I don’t think we have to assume that “we just don’t like people who smoke” and in fact I love several people that do, even while I don’t like being too close while they’re puffing away. Mr. E85 already made a good point that I think matters more than you seem to think it does. E-cigs are cigarette substitutes. They look like a lit cigarette, at least from a distance and to a kid. Kids can learn about responsible drinking, so there’s no need to shelter them from Bud signs and beer vendors. There is no such thing as responsible smoking.

      • MrE85

        When they come out with e-Budweiser, we’ll address these issues again. 😉

      • But now we’re back to an old debate — so what? If there’s no scientific evidence — conclusive evidence — that an e-cigarette is harmful to those not consuming it, what is the public interest in banning it? Basically, as with cigarettes, we’re talking about a nicotine delivery device which, as near as I can tell, people have turned to as a step — perhaps a small step — toward stopping smoking.

        And it’s true, kids CAN be taught responsible drinking, but generally they’re not in the face of societal portrayals of booze… that’s it for fun times. Just keep pounding them down at the ballpark. Meanwhile, the Upper Midwest is the biggest binge drinking area of the country, people are being slaughtered on the roadways by drunk drivers and the majority of crimes that don’t involve drugs, seem to involve alcohol, and it continues to get a free pass. The lawmakers couldn’t even see fit to raise the taxes on it because it’s a deity in Minnesota.

        I’ll hold off on citing the obesity epidemic as a health threat for now. :*)

        • Dave

          Oh yes, this being America, and this being Minnesota, we must now proceed to equate alcohol with tobacco.

          “in the face of societal portrayals of booze”

          Did you just engage in a little of that portrayal yourself?

          They didn’t fail to raise the tax because it’s a deity. They failed to raise the tax, and to allow Sunday sales, because we have a monolithic, grotesque pig of a liquor lobby here.

      • mason

        Under that logic we also need to ban nicotine gum. It looks just like bubble gum! Think of the kids!

        Anyway, I’m glad that you want to help me raise me kids, but am perfectly capable of explaining to my daughter what an e-cig is, and why people use them, just as I can explain why some adults like to drink beer.

    • “We just don’t like people who smoke.”

      I think there’s something to this. Growing up, I was taught smoking was evil from the time I attended kindergarten. But none of the anti-smoking messaging seems to differentiate between the act of smoking and smokers themselves. I didn’t really learn the distinction until I was old enough to try it for myself.

      Also, our media uses smoking as short-hand for rebellious behavior in TV shows and movies. Who was always smoking in movies when I was growing up? Bad guys or really cool rebel-without-a-cause types. It adds to the stereotype that smokers are bad eggs.

  • Rachel

    #1 Stadium rules video – Not funny, kind of offensive. Women carry too much crap…harharhar. As a woman and a person with a medical condition which occasionally requires me to carry meds and equipment, I can tell you these rules make me reconsider attending an NFL event. There are plenty of people in this world who need to carry sensitive personal items but still enjoy leaving the house.

    • Yeah I was a little confused by the video too. I found a few of the jokes funny but couldn’t tell how they actually felt about the ban.

    • Cara

      YES! Like ‘personal care products’ for women, which I thought they’d mention in the video, but didn’t. I couldn’t go through an entire NFL game without a handful of, er, um, tampons.

  • Housekeeping note: Real names, people.

    • MrE85

      Full disclosure: MrE85 is my Discus nom de plume. Elsewhere, I’m Robert Moffitt. The mustache is real.

      • I used to have one like that. I refer to them as my “Robert Goulet years.”

  • Dave


    The following statement should, in no way, be taken as a defense of whoever wrote that letter: “There are two sides to every story.”

  • MrE85
  • kevinfromminneapolis

    Loved the video. I’ve been to golf tournaments where spectators are separated from their vehicles, plumbing and modern conveniences in general for hours and most of the time an entire day. You don’t see large purses getting carried around. Maybe football fans should talk to golf fans and share tips.

  • MrE85

    One more link on the topic, from the New York Times. One of the forum participants is a U of M researcher. Another is my former boss, who now heads the national ALA. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/08/20/the-ambiguous-allure-of-the-e-cig/?ref=opinion