General Affairs

Cigar shop bill passed

Senators approved a bill Feb. 20 that exempts cigar and tobacco shops from the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act.

The bill was brought this session in response to a 2014 Nebraska Supreme Court decision that declared unconstitutional the Legislature’s previous exemption of cigar bars and tobacco retail outlets from the statewide smoking ban.

Introduced by O’Neill Sen. Tyson Larson, LB118 grants businesses that exclusively sell smoking products an exemption and permits a cigar shop to apply for a liquor license if the establishment:
• does not sell food;
• generates at least 10 percent of its gross revenue from sales of cigars, tobacco and tobacco-related products, not including cigarettes;
• has a walk-in humidor; and
• does not allow cigarette smoking.

The bill outlines the differences between cigars and cigarettes, prohibits anyone under 21 years old from purchasing products or smoking in cigar shops and requires cigar shops to post signs prohibiting cigarette smoking.

It also requires cigar shop employees to sign a form acknowledging that they will be exposed to secondhand smoke and know the health risks involved.

The bill passed with an emergency clause on a 45-3 vote.

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