Colorado tops 37 other states for e-cigarette use among high school students, according to a national school-based survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than a quarter of Colorado high schoolers currently use e-cigarettes and almost 6 percent say they use them frequently.
The state had a high vaping prevalence, but Alison Reidmohr, tobacco communication specialist with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, was “surprised to see the highest in the nation.” She noted it’s nearly double the national average, and appears to be driven by the popularity of the Juul brand.
The finding, based on states that participated in the survey and had available data, coincides with a push in several Colorado mountain towns to raise the minimum age for tobacco and nicotine purchases.
The Garrison City will become the first municipality in the state to raise the age to legally possess, use and purchase tobacco products in Dover to 21 years old.
The City Council voted to approve the ordinance change on a 6-1-2 vote, with Ward 4 Councilor Marcia Gasses voting no, Mayor Karen Weston recusing, and Ward 6 Councilor Matthew Keane absent from the meeting.
Members of Dover Youth to Youth had brought forward the resolution and asked Weston to sponsor it, which she agreed to do. Weston recused herself from the discussion and vote to avoid a conflict of interest as the store she co-owns with her family sells cigarettes.
Three members of Dover Youth to Youth, Hannah Martuscello, Olivia Malone and Elsa Rogers, spoke on behalf of the ordinance during its public hearing before the council vote at Wednesday’s council meeting. They said the by raising the age from 18 years old to 21 to purchase, possess and use tobacco would increase the health and safety of the youth in the city. While they noted that tobacco use has been on the decline for years, there has been an increase in e-cigarette use, which has become an issue at the high school bathrooms, they said.
The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would raise the statewide age for buying tobacco from 18 to 21.
The bill would also ban smoking of e-cigarettes in places where cigarettes are currently banned, such as on school grounds. It would prohibit pharmacies and health care institutions from selling tobacco.
“This bill will not only protect our young people from beginning a dangerous addiction to tobacco, but it includes safeguards for public health by restricting the use of e-cigarettes and the public’s exposure to e-cigarette emissions,” said Jeff Seyler, of the American Lung Association.
Someone who is over 18 but under 21 before the law goes into effect, on Dec. 31, 2018, would be grandfathered in and would still be allowed to buy tobacco products.
The Senate vote was 33-3. The three no votes were all Republicans — Don Humason, of Westfield, Ryan Fattman, of Webster and Dean Tran, of Fitchburg.
The Massachusetts House already passed a similar bill in May.
There are differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill that will have to be reconciled before it reaches Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk.
It’s June once again, and a proposed NY State Tobacco 21 minimum legal sales age law is once again in jeopardy of running out of time. With bipartisan support in both the Senate and Assembly, both full chambers in Albany should be given an opportunity to pass this common-sense, bipartisan-supported law.
I’m calling on my local and surrounding area legislators, both in the state Senate and Assembly, to push for a T21 bill to be put on the table. In addition I’m asking for them to reach out to their colleagues for support to see that their respective bills (S.3978; A.273) advance to a full vote in both chambers. Last year time ran out on the bill stuck in committee. The time for delays and excuses should be over. Ninety-five percent of smokers begin their path to tobacco addiction before age 21. Just do the math.
The Senate Finance Committee and the Assembly Rules Committee have their respective bills before them. They should be responsible this time and vote them out of committee. Please.
This should not be a political issue. Just take a look at last month’s Nassau County Legislature’s unanimous passage of a T21 bill. Come on already!