Tobacco age changes to 21 or wait 19?

Mac Hardy

A convenience store employee smoking a cigarette on their break. The first symptoms of nicotine addiction can start within a few days of starting to smoke and after just a few cigarettes according to

Mac Hardy, Staff Writer

A new law has been put in place by President Donald Trump that raised the age to purchase tobacco, e-cigarettes, and vape products from 18 to 21. However, before the federal law was passed, Nebraska had passed its own law changing the age to purchase tobacco to 19. 

In most cases, federal law trumps state law. This is not the case with this one. For the time being, the Nebraska attorney general put out a letter out to the county attorneys and police to follow the state law because that’s what Nebraska legislation has passed. 

For future purposes, Nebraska legislators are trying to make a new bill that will change the legal age from 19 to 21. “[They] can’t take it out of state law as law enforcement is only allowed to enforce state law. Federal officers can only enforce federal law. States do not have to make laws to enforce federal law,School Resource Officer Jeremiah Johnson said

Mac Hardy
The prices of cigarettes and vape products in a convenience store. According to Americans spend about $80 billion on cigarettes per year.

If you turned 18 before they passed, there is no grandfather clause required with these laws. However, businesses have the right to sell to anyone at any age, as long as it is compliant with the state law minimum. Johnson said, “They can say ‘we’re not gonna let people purchase till they are 25’ because they are the ones that sell it.” However if they do sell to anyone who is 19, they are still following state law so it’s not illegal to sell it.

Now that the law has been implemented, using or having possession of any illegal products is violating the law, even if you bought it legally. Johnson believes this law was put in place to prevent high schoolers from buying for younger students. “I believe a lot of that problem was 18-year-olds still attending school [were] purchasing tobacco products for minors,” said Johnson.

The main purpose of this bill is to reduce the use of tobacco products for the effects they have on people’s health. “I think it’s good that it’s 21…I think so you kids don’t get hooked on them so early,” said Casey’s cashier Robyn Perez.