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Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress

Local action has begun in Colorado, beginning with Aspen in 2017, and the state is fertile for other grassroots movements. Previous efforts to introduce Tobacco bills at the state law were stalled in committees along party lines. However, if the recent local momentum continues Colorado could become another Tobacco 21 state in the future.

Currently, Colorado has a below national average rate of high school smoking and a slightly above average rate of adult smoking. Their progress is likely in part due to their far above national average funding of tobacco prevention programs, reaching 50.7% of the CDC recommended amount. However, there are still an estimated 91,000 children now under the age of 18 who will eventually die early due to smoking, with 2,200 children becoming daily smokers every year. The result is an annual health care cost of $1.89 billion that is directly caused by smoking. Though the state’s effort to raise the tobacco age to 21 did not succeed, state law allows for local governments to pursue their own youth access regulations. This means Tobacco 21 could gain strong local support in a state that has already contemplated the change.

Recent Updates

  • 5/2019 – Snowmass, Colorado becomes the 6th locality in the state to enact a Tobacco 21 law (effective May 21, 2019).

  • 3/11/2019 – Edgewater, Colorado enacts a Tobacco 21 law. (effective March 31, 2019). There are now 5 local T21 policies representing 0.5% of the state population.

  • 08/16/2018 – Avon, CO becomes the 3rd locality in the state to enact a Tobacco 21 law (effective September 28, 2018)

  • 3/27/2018 – Basalt, CO votes to become the 2nd locality in the state to enact a Tobacco 21 law (effective July 1, 2018).

  • 4/13/2017 – Aspen, CO votes to become the 1st locality in the state to enact a Tobacco 21 law.

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For More Information, Please Contact:

Other Helpful Resources:

Tobacco Free Kids Colorado

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.

American Lung Association State Report Card

The ALA ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2014.

SLATI State Information Colorado

SLATI (State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues) is an extensively researched and invaluable source of information on tobacco control laws and policy, and is the only up-to-date and comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws.

The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids support these four principles for Tobacco 21 ordinances:

  1. Include all tobacco and nicotine products, specifically e-cigarettes. The only exceptions would be FDA recognized nicotine replacement products (gum, patch, etc.) intended for cessation.
  2. Include significant enforcement provisions against illegal sales as research shows that consistent enforcement is of critical importance.
  3. Not include any pre-emption against local authority in more stringent regulation of tobacco or other nicotine product sales, secondhand smoke, or e-cigarette vapor.
  4. Ideally not include possession, usage, or purchase (PUP) penalties that result in criminal records, and instead place the onus on the purveyors of these addictive products.

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