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Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, Incense and Medical Cannabis

Frequently, managers have questions about other products that may be included in a smoke-free policy. These products include electronic nicotine delivery systems (like electronic cigarettes), incense, and medical cannabis (marijuana). This page briefly reviews these products, lists fact sheets about them, and gives some guidance as to how property managers of mult-unit properties can address related questions or concerns.



Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems

Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) is the umbrella term for devices, including electronic cigarettes, that deliver nicotine by vaporization. While there are hundreds of different brands and many different styles of ENDS, all of them have three primary components: a battery, a heating element, and cartridge that holds a liquid nicotine mixture. These devices heat the liquid nicotine mixture into an aerosol that is inhaled.

The reasons why many property managers consider including electronic cigarettes in their smoke-free housing policy are:

  1.  Enforcement- Difficulties with enforcing a smoke-free policy could occur because many ENDS devices look like traditional cigarettes and simulate smoking; this could cause confusion among residents, staff and guests.
  2. Fire Risk- Fires and explosions have occurred during the charging and use of electronic cigarettes. The US Fire Administration goes into more detail, here.
  3. Poison Risk- Minnesota’s Poison Center saw a large increase in youth being poisoned by electronic cigarette juice; there were more than 10 times as many reports of children and teens being poisoned by e-cigarette juice in 2013 than 2012. To learn more, read the press release here.

Learn More About Electronic Cigarettes:




Incense is a substance that is burned to emit an odor. While there are many different forms of incense, all of them have two primary components- a fragrance and a burning agent. There are various reasons why people use incense including, obscuring undesirable odors, providing a pleasant smell, aesthetic enjoyment, and religious purposes.

Some property managers include incense in their smoke-free policy to prevent:

  1. Fire Risk- Incense is a material that is meant to be lit and smolder.
  2. Masking Unhealthy Living Conditions- This can include carbon monoxide, sewage, mold, and secondhand smoke.
  3. Negative Health Impact- Incense smoke has been found to contain hazardous gases and cancer causing chemicals. Incense smoke can also exacerbate existing respiratory conditions.
  4. Smoke Migration- Smoke and smells can migrate between units potentially harming and annoying neighbors.
  5. Property Damage- Soot and smoke damage to the unit is possible with incense.

Learn More About Incense:



Medical Cannabis

‘Medical Cannabis’ is term used to describe using marijuana for the purpose of alleviating a medical condition. Marijuana is a substance derived from the Cannabis sativa hemp plant; it contains the psychoactive chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, and other like compounds. Marijuana can be consumed in a number of ways including smoked, eaten, drank, and vaporized.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have laws permitting the use of marijuana for help treating medical conditions. In Minnesota, a law was passed in 2014 allowing Minnesotans to use some forms of marijuana, pill, liquid or vaporized, to treat an approved list of medical conditions; qualifying users will be required to join a state registry.  

As it relates to housing, a key point to remember is that marijuana remains a federally controlled substance; property owners could potentially face consequences by allowing its use, even though it is permitted under state law.

Learn More About Medical Cannabis: