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Area residents may soon need to be 21 to buy cigarettes and e-cigs in Denver

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DENVER -- The Denver City Council advanced a measure in committee Wednesday that would change the age of buying tobacco products in the city.

A final vote is now expected by the end of the month.

Under the proposed ordinance, you would have to be 21 years old to buy cigarettes and e-cigarettes in the city. The ordinance also creates a new license for businesses that sell tobacco.

A business would have to pay $250 for the license initially and then $500 each year to renew. New tobacco sellers would not be allowed to open with 1000 feet of schools or rec centers or within 500 feet of existing tobacco selling outlets. Existing stores would be grandfathered in if they obtain a proper license.

"There is a lot of evidence in the health field of developmental effects of using tobacco at an early age - it also brings us into more accordance with alcohol and tobacco which is 21," Tristan Sanders, an official with the Denver Department of Public Health, said.

Grier Bailey, who represents convenience store owners, expressed concerns about the cost of the new fee, arguing the great majority of stores comply with laws.

"Now you are putting additional licenses additional fees on people who are already doing the right thing without a license," Bailey said.

At Smoker Friendly, a tobacco shop in Denver that sells cigarettes and e-cigarettes, mixed reactions at the proposal with some believing 18 years of age is old enough to make decisions.

"If you are 18 and considered an adult and can fight for your country, die for your country, get married - you should be able to smoke you should be able to vape," Veronica Sare, a smoker and employee, said.

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