Businesses selling tobacco products have been facing a dilemma: Do they follow federal law that sets the purchase age at 21 or Nebraska law that has it at 19?
It’s an unfair predicament to put on businesses, who are just interested in following the law — and want to know what it is.
Most businesses have been following the federal law, which is the wise move, especially if they have locations in more than one state.
The logical next step is for Nebraska lawmakers to get state law in line with federal law.
In Grand Island, officials aren’t waiting for the state. The Grand Island City Council tonight will consider changing city law to age 21 for the purchase of tobacco and tobacco-related products.
This is a smart move and it’s good to see the city acting quickly to clear up the confusion. Businesses should have a clear law to follow.
The new minimum purchase age will change to 21 in Grand Island within 15 days of passage and publication of a legal notice.
So while Grand Island will consider action tonight, the rest of the county and state will still be in limbo. So it is imperative that the Legislature act. It must get state law in line with federal law.
Setting the tobacco age at 21 is a good move. While those who say that 18, 19 and 20-year-olds can vote and go to war and should be able to decide for themselves whether they want to smoke have a good point, there is a reason for setting it at 21.
The younger age are people who are closer to high school students — and could then be more influenced to buy tobacco products for under-age individuals.
The higher the age, the harder it will be for younger people to obtain cigarettes and vaping products. And this is good.
Research has shown that more young people are starting to vape and smoke, so the more difficult it can be made for them to obtain the tobacco products the better it is for their health.
Smoking leads to life-long health problems. So what can be done to discourage smoking, the better it is for the public’s and individual’s health.
The federal government is also taking other steps, such as banning flavored vaping items, to discourage young people from getting hooked on nicotine.
These are positive moves in keeping young people from getting addicted to smoking or vaping.