Nebraska's Smoke Free Law Goes into Effect June 1, 2009..

June 1, 2008 -  All Nebraska workplaces, including restaurants, bars and gaming facilities, will be smoke-free, thanks to the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Dave Heineman (February 2008). Many cities in Nebraska already have smoking bans. Lincoln and Omaha have their own public indoor smoking ordinances, covering roughly half of the state’s residents. Lincoln’s ban prohibits smoking in all bars and restaurants, while Omaha’s ban has been more controversial because it prohibits smoking only in bars that serve food and do not offer keno. Ron Asher of North Platte, representing the Nebraska Medical Association, said health care costs for smoking-related illnesses in the state have grown to $1.2 billion. Much of it is paid for by the nonsmoking majority of the population, he said. The City of North Platte City Council (May 20, 2008) passed an ordinance prohibiting smoking in all city facilities. No smoking is allowed within 25-feet of any city facility or inside any city park. Those who do and get caught could get fined up to $1,000. References: Heineman signs smoking ban, by NATE JENKINS, The Associated Press, 2/26/2008; Statewide smoking ban considered,; Council votes to ban smoking in public parks by Frank Graham (North Platte Bulletin) - 5/21/2008