A Nebraska state senator has introduced a bill that would make the sale of tobacco products to persons under 21-years-age illegal, as well as their possession or use.
On Thursday, State Sen. Merv Riepe (R-12) introduced Legislative Bill 73, which would not only raise the state’s minimum age to purchase tobacco and nicotine delivery products from 18 to 21-years-old, but also make it a crime for a person under 21 to possess or use such products. The bill seeks to make the latter a Class V misdemeanor, unless the person charged with the crime furnishes evidence for the conviction of the person or persons that sold or gave them said products.
In Nebraska, a Class V misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of a $100 fine.
A person who provides tobacco products, vapor devices or alternative nicotine delivery products to a minor–whether by sale or other means–would face a Class III misdemeanor, which comes with a maximum penalty of three months imprisonment and/or a $500 fine.
Reipe is a retired hospital administrator who was elected chair of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee during Wednesday’s opening day of the legislative session.
Only two states have increased the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, Hawaii and California, while in Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey and Utah the minimum age is 19-years-old, though a number of cities and counties have increased the minimum age on their own.
The bill has not yet been referred to a committee.
Tobacco Bills 2017 State Legislative Summary
Ending the Tobacco Epidemic in Nebraska
FDA announces comprehensive regulatory plan to shift trajectory of tobacco-related disease, death Agency to pursue lowering nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels and create more predictability in tobacco regulation
Bill would more than triple Nebraska’s cigarette tax
LB 73 Tobacco 21 Bill Hearing — Watch Live Here
Bill to raise tobacco age among 93 introduced in Legislature
Proposed bill to increase age of buying tobacco, vaping products
Bill would ban sale, use of tobacco and e-cigs to Nebraskans under 21