Colorado Governor Signs Strong Tobacco 21 Legislation
HB20-2001 Provides Strong Enforcement and a Tobacco Retail License Program
The Colorado legislature passed a Tobacco 21 bill that Governor Polis signed on July 14, 2020. Colorado is the 30th state to pass a Tobacco 21 law. The bill raises the minimum legal sales age for all nicotine and tobacco products to 21 and enhances enforcement provisions that hold profiteering retailers, rather than kids, accountable for unlawful sales.
The bill requires the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to conduct two compliance checks per retailer each year– an effort proven to ensure retailer compliance and lower violation rates. The bill also establishes a comprehensive tobacco retail licensing (TRL) program for the state that both funds enforcement and protects honest retailers from the unfair advantage of underage sales.
Most states that have raised their tobacco sales age have failed to include enforcement provisions that ensure the effectiveness of the policy; Colorado wisely recognized that an unenforced law is no law at all.
Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation President Rob Crane, MD, stated: “Colorado has made a statement that they won’t tolerate sales of these addictive and deadly products to kids. We applaud their bold vision, effective use of a tobacco retail license, and comprehensive approach to preventing addiction and protecting kids.”
We thank Governor Polis and the Colorado Legislature for this critical public health law that will help stem the massive teen vaping epidemic and better protect Colorado’s kids!