A proposal that could allow outdoor tobacco sales might get re-rolled by the Omaha City Council.
Council members heard testimony Tuesday on a change in city rules that would allow licensed tobacco dealers to sell their products at a temporary location — such as an outdoor festival.
The council, though, might adjust the idea to ensure that temporary sales locations would only include cigars, while barring sales from public property. The proposal is set for a vote next week.
Charles Kline, an Old Market tobacconist, told the council the proposal was meant to allow him to sell cigars at private events or fundraisers away from his normal business location.
But anti-smoking advocates, including the Metro Omaha Tobacco Action Coalition, told the council that such a change would undermine efforts to prevent youth smoking and reduce outdoor exposure to second-hand smoke.
Others said the law, without any changes, could allow tobacco sales at city parks or pools.
“That's a business, I think, the city doesn't want to encourage,” said Mark Welsch, head of another local anti-smoking group.
Kline said he intended that the rule limit such sales to private property.
The updated law would be similar to that for special liquor licenses. It would create a special permit to allow off-site tobacco sales for up to six consecutive days. There wouldn't be any limit to how many licenses a dealer could apply for, though the dealer would have to pay a $25 daily fee for the license.
Deputy City Attorney Tom Mumgaard told the council it could add criteria to city tobacco license rules.
The council also is set to vote next week on a proposal to allow Sunday liquor sales to start before the noon hour.
Until 2012, state law long prohibited anything other than beer or wine sales on Sunday mornings. City prohibitions on Sunday liquor sales never changed. A constituent asked Council President Pete Festersen to propose the change.