Cass County town goes tobacco-free; it’s no longer for sale anywhere in town

Smokers will be disappointed if they try to buy tobacco products in Greenwood, Nebraska.

A gas station/convenience store closed about four months ago, leaving the Cass County town of about 680 people without a tobacco retail outlet, village board member Kevin Gerlach said. The Uptown Saloon, a bar and restaurant, quit selling tobacco products several years ago, according to a woman who answered the phone at the business.

“It’s just the way the cards fell,” Gerlach said. “If someone wants to buy tobacco, there are gas stations about 3 miles outside of town on the local interchange (for Interstate 80).”

Last summer, the board made the village park a tobacco-free space. If a business would want to start selling tobacco in town, it would have to get approval from the board.

“I’m a third-generation Greenwood resident, and I think (approval) would be pretty unlikely,” Gerlach said. “In the town’s heyday, back in the 1950s, there were five bars and two or three stores that all sold tobacco. Those days are over.”

Autumn Burns of Tobacco Education and Advocacy of the Midlands said it’s the first town she has heard of in Nebraska without any tobacco sales. She applauded Greenwood’s decision to make its park tobacco-free because it’s “a great role model” for the community’s youth.

“I think it’s really inspiring,” Burns said. “They’re showing small communities can take the lead making tobacco-free spaces. I’m also impressed with Cass County as a whole because Greenwood, Elmwood, Weeping Water and Murray have all implemented tobacco-free parks.”