Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress

4/13/2017 – Aspen, CO votes to become the 1st locality in the state to enact a Tobacco 21 law. The law is an example for the rest of the state, containing Tobacco Retail Licensing that includes the licensing of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and all other tobacco products.

Colorado has already made an effort to raise the sales age of tobacco to 21. House Bill 14-1263 was introduced on 2/4/14 with bipartisan and bicameral sponsors led by Republican Representative Cheri Gerou. The Colorado Academy of Pediatrics, the American Lung Association of Colorado, the American Heart Association of Colorado, and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids supported the bill. It passed the House Health, Insurance, and Environment Committee on a 6-4 party-line vote on 2/20/14, with all Republicans opposed, and was forwarded to the Finance Committee. However, on March 19, 2014 the House Finance Committee stopped further progress with an opposing 7-6 vote. Given the support, future initiatives are likely. Local movement is starting to form in Colorado, which will strengthen movement toward a comprehensive statewide law.

Colorado House Bill 14-1263: The 2014 bill to bring the sales age of tobacco to 21 in Colorado.

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 49.2% 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 2,400 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. For further information you may contact:

Eric Brodell
Western Regional Director
Tobacco 21

Jodi Radke
Director, Rocky Mountain / Great Plains Region
Tobacco Free Kids

or visit our sources:

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/a>: “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.

We welcome your comments and suggestions: Contact Us