DENVER — The Denver Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) proposed a new law Thursday that would make selling tobacco, vape products and smokeless tobacco illegal to anyone under the age of 21.
In addition to raising the legal age to purchase e-cigarettes, “Tobacco 21” would also remove the sale of tobacco from vending machines.
“Youth usage of tobacco and nicotine products is increasing rapidly, and research has proved that youth who try e-cigarettes are more likely to begin smoking tobacco later,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “Raising the age of purchase to 21 years old for these products is a step we can take as a city to curb this rising trend and promote public and personal health, and more positive choices, among our young residents.”
According to a news release from the city of Denver, 32 percent of Colorado high school students reported using tobacco products and 23 percent of Denver high school students are using tobacco products.
“As Denver’s public health department, we have a responsibility to act on matters of public health like teen vaping,” said Robert McDonald, executive director of DDPHE and the public health administrator for the city. “Solid health policy must be evidence-based and focused on clear standards and best practices. We’re confident that Tobacco 21 moves Denver in a better direction.”
Tobacco 21 has been enacted in California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, Hawaii, Maine and Virginia and 440 local governments have raised the age of sale for tobacco products to 21.
The changes will first be heard by the City Council’s Safety, Housing, Education & Homelessness (SAFEHOUSE) committee on Wednesday, April 3.