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Aspen City Council votes to increase minimum age to purchase tobacco

ASPEN, Colo. — The Aspen City Council voted Tuesday night to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco in the resort town from 18 to 21 beginning Jan. 1.

“Aspen is such a health-conscious town and our residents and guests enjoy life here for the clean air and exercise opportunities,” Aspen Mayor Steven Skadron said in a statement.

“Our leadership is essential in creating a city known for its healthy lifestyle and ethic. This law will positively contribute toward the goal of lowering smoking rates in young adults,”

The city council said it worked closely with Pitkin County Medical Officer Dr. Kimberly Levin to increase the age.

She worked with the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation for more than a year with the goal of having Aspen join 225 other municipalities as well as California and Hawaii to increase the minimum age to 21.

“Along with educational efforts, increasing the age from 18 to 21 will make the single largest impact protecting our youth from a lifetime addiction to nicotine thereby preventing serious medical issues associated with cigarette smoking,” Levin said in a statement.

The city said it will lose about $75,000 a year in sales tax by restricting 18- to 20-year-olds from buying tobacco products.

It will also cost $3,000 a year for outreach, vendor education, biannual inspections of sellers and other activities related to the change.