The purpose of the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act is to protect the public health and welfare by prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment.
The Act eliminates smoking in enclosed indoor areas including restaurants, bars, keno establishments, horse racing venues and other workplaces (retail/office space, manufacturing, etc.) as well as indoor public places.
No, the law also covers any enclosed indoor area of public places or places of employment.
The only exceptions are:
Some cities may have a local ordinance prohibiting indoor smoking, and those ordinances may not allow exceptions. In those cases, the local ordinance would apply.
In February, 2015, the Legislature passed an additional exemption to the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act for cigar shops. Cigar shops are establishments that:
This is also the only exemption to the Act that cannot be altered by county resolution or city ordinance. The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission (LCC) administers the cigar shop application process. Contact the LCC with any questions at www.lcc.ne.gov or (402) 471-2571.
Outdoor environments are not specifically covered by the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008. However, businesses may voluntarily choose to create smoke-free outdoor areas.
No. Businesses have the authority, however, to set a distance limit for smokers from their doorways.
Indoor area is defined as “an area enclosed by a floor, a ceiling and walls on all sides that are continuous and solid except for closeable entry and exit doors and windows and in which less than twenty percent of the total wall area is permanently open to the outdoors. For walls in excess of eight feet in height, only the first eight feet shall be used in determining such percentage."
An outdoor area compliance guidance document has been prepared by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
The law only requires signage for cigar shops and tobacco retail outlets, but other businesses may post signs to help inform customers about the law.
Cigar shops must post a sign on all entrances to the cigar shop, on the outside of each door, in a conspicuous location slightly above or next to the door, with the following statement: SMOKING OF CIGARS AND PIPES IS ALLOWED INSIDE THIS BUSINESS. SMOKING OF CIGARETTES IS NOT ALLOWED.
Tobacco retail outlets must post a sign on all entrances to the tobacco retail outlet, on the outside of each door, in a conspicuous location slightly above or next to the door, with the following statement: SMOKING OF CIGARS AND PIPES IS ALLOWED INSIDE THIS BUSINESS. SMOKING OF CIGARETTES IS NOT ALLOWED.
No smoking door decals are available free of charge by calling 1-877-633-7331, emailing: email@example.com, or by contacting your local health department. These decals do not meet the signage requirement for cigar shops and tobacco retail outlets.
A person who smokes in a place of employment or a public place in violation of the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act is guilty of a Class V misdemeanor (maximum $100 fine) for the first offense and Class IV misdemeanor (minimum $100, maximum $500) for the second and any subsequent offenses. Charges can be dismissed upon successful completion of a smoking cessation program. A proprietor that fails, neglects or refuses to perform a duty under the Act is guilty of a class V misdemeanor for the first offense and Class IV misdemeanor for the second and subsequent offenses.
To file a complaint, please call 877-633-7331, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your local health department. You can also fill out an online complaint form.
Compliance with the provisions of the law is the responsibility of the business owner of a public place or place of employment where smoking is prohibited. To ensure compliance a proprietor must take measures that may include:
Remind your customers of the law and politely explain that they must step outside to smoke. Also train your staff about what to say to customers, for example: “We're smoke-free, you'll have to put out your cigarette," or “The law prohibits smoking indoors. Thanks for your cooperation."
If necessary use your normal protocol for removing a disruptive customer from your premises.
Yes. Several resources including decals are available.
Hookah use is prohibited under the law just as cigar, pipe, or cigarette use is with a few exceptions. If a facility meets one of the stated exceptions above, then hookah smoking would be allowed just as cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoking would be allowed.
Yes. The law only prohibits smoking indoors. Any cigarette-like device or tobacco product that is not “lit" does not meet the definition of smoking, so their use is allowed indoors. Businesses have the authority, however, to prohibit the use of these products within their business. It may be in the best interest of a business (especially bars) to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes because their appearance is so similar to conventional cigarettes that there could be confusion by the public about whether or not the bar is in compliance with the law. "No smoking, including e-cigarettes" door decals are available free of charge by calling 1-877-633-7331, emailing: email@example.com, or by contacting your local health department.
The Act does not restrict smoking in commercial vehicles, but businesses are free to implement their own smoke-free vehicle policy.
No. Smoking is prohibited at all times in businesses that are not exceptions to the law. The only exceptions to the law are:
It depends on the club's status as a public place and as a place of employment. If the club retains employees or allows the public to access the facility, then it will need to be smoke-free.
The Nebraska Tobacco Quitline is sponsored by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Tobacco Free Nebraska program. The toll-free Quitline, 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUIT-NOW), gives Nebraska residents 24/7 access to counseling and support services. Calls to the Quitline are free. There are also local tobacco cessation programs available across the state which may be helpful. View a list of known programs.
This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult state statutes or contact an attorney for more information about the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act.