Colorado Considers Higher Vaping, Smoking Age

Lawmakers seek to raise the state minimum tobacco and vaping buying age to 21.

September 13, 2019

DENVER—Colorado lawmakers are putting together a bill that would raise the statewide minimum vaping and smoking age to 21, the Denver Post reports. “My primary concern here is I’m interested in stopping teens from using it,” said Rep. Colin Larson (R). “I want to make it at least as difficult to get as alcohol.”

The move comes as the Trump Administration announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would ban flavored vaping products. The agency said it will pull all flavored e-cigarette cartridges from the market, leaving only tobacco-flavored products, in an effort to discourage under-age vaping. 

During the 2019 session, Larson and Sen. Kevin Priola (R) worked to pass a bill that prohibited e-cigarette usage within 25 feet or inside of government or commercial buildings. The new bill would aim to align regulations for tobacco, marijuana and alcohol products.

Already Aspen and Boulder have higher smoking ages, and Denver City is looking at an ordinance to increase the tobacco purchase age to 21. This spring, Gov. Jared Polis launched an unsuccessful attempt to get a ballot measure to voters to increase taxes on vaping products.

Arkansas, Texas and Vermont all recently increased the tobacco-buying age to 21. Three more states—Connecticut, Maryland and New York—will implement similar age-requirement laws this year, and Washington and Utah have passed laws that will take effect in 2020 and 2021, respectively. California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon and Virginia already enforce the minimum 21 age limit law for tobacco purchases.

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