A bill to raise Nebraska’s smoking age advanced from general file July 21.

LB1064, introduced by Sen. Tom Briese of Albion, would raise the legal age to use and purchase tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, electronic nicotine delivery systems or alternative nicotine products from 19 to 21.

Briese said change is necessary because the federal smoking age was raised to 21 in December 2019, shortly before Nebraska’s age changed to 19. The situation caused confusion among consumers and retailers, he said.

“This has led to a patchwork of legal age limits across Nebraska,” Briese said. “(LB 1064) levels the playing field among our retailers.”

He added that not raising the age could result in Nebraska losing a variety of federal funding.

Briese introduced an amendment, adopted 41-0, that would make the bill effective Oct. 1.

Following adoption of the amendment, lawmakers advanced LB 1064 to select file on a 42-0 vote.