Lakewood is launching a program to combat an increase in teens using e-cigarettes

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- A new program in Lakewood hopes to stop teens from using e-cigarettes by requiring any store that sells non-cigarette tobacco products to get a license by the end of the month.

“I think it’s typical that kids don’t see the harm, they don’t feel the harm, they don’t understand the long term harm that it can cause,” Lakewood City Clerk Margy Greer said.

Under the program, stores selling non-cigarette tobacco products like e-cigs, vapes and paraphernalia will need to get licensed by the end of March. The city says it’s a $300 licensing fee.

“A lot of them are asking questions about what type of products are you trying to license? Why aren’t you licensing cigarettes? Just a lot of those kind of questions from retailers,” Greer said.

The program will have annual city inspections, which leaders say will begin this summer, along with undercover inspections by the Lakewood Police Department.

The city plans to phase in teen education about the dangers of e-cigarettes in early 2020.

Lakewood is not alone in its effort to limit teen e-cig use.

Edgewater recently voted to increase the age for sale of tobacco to 21 years old; the ordinance goes into effect March 31.

Aspen, Avon, Basalt and Carbondale already have a 21 age restriction in place.

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