The minimum age to purchase and possess tobacco products in Nebraska will likely soon be 21-years-old, as the state’s legislature has approved LB 1064 by a 48-0 vote on Tuesday, sending it to the desk of Gov. Pete Ricketts for his signature.
If the governor signs the bill, it will immediately make the purchase, possession or use of tobacco products, e-cigarettes or vaping products by a person under 21-years-old a Class V misdemeanor. Anyone convicted of providing such products to a person under 21-years-old can be charged with a Class III misdemeanor.
Additionally, the bill will make it illegal for a tobacco specialty retailer to employ a person under 21-years-old beginning on Jan. 1, 2022. It also makes changes to the procedures related to tobacco retailer compliance inspections.
With the increase, Nebraska’s laws will become aligned with the federal increase that was passed in Dec. 2019. While the Food & Drug Administration has not yet begun to enforce the new minimum age, it is expected to begin doing so by the end of 2020.
Update (Aug. 25, 2020) — The governor signed the bill into law on Aug. 17.