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.