At a Jan. 28 meeting, Lakewood City Council unanimously voted in favor of a new tobacco licensing system ordinance. The ordinance, designed to halt youth tobacco use, will require retailers who sell …
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Almost one in four Colorado youth under the age of 18 were able to purchase an electronic vapor product, according to a 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado survey.
According to a Behavior Risk Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Colorado has the highest amount of youth who use e-cigarettes and other vaping product. The Jefferson County Board of Health declared youth e-cigarette use as a public health crisis.
At a Jan. 28 meeting, Lakewood City Council unanimously voted in favor of a new tobacco licensing system ordinance.
The ordinance, designed to halt youth tobacco use, will require retailers who sell non-cigarette tobacco products to have to pay a licensing application fee — something that is a proven strategy to prevent illegal sales and youth tobacco use, according to a release from Jefferson County Public Health. Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul says structure for fees will be set in the coming weeks at a public meeting. Products like e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snus (moist powder tobacco), pipe tobacco, cigars and cigarillos fall under the category of non-cigarette products. The clerk age to sell tobacco products will be raised to 18 under the new ordinance, and non-cigarette tobacco products will be required to be put behind counters in retail stores.
According to a recent Behavioral Risk Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Colorado has the most youth who use e-cigarettes and other vaping products in the country. Compliance inspections under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) say that 17 percent of tobacco retailers in Lakewood sold tobacco to a minor in 2017-2018. The FDA declared e-cigarette use among youth as an epidemic.
Lakewood City Councilmember Dana Gutwein said she is proud Lakewood took a bold step to fight youth vaping.
“Together, we can do our part to reverse this alarming trend and help prevent our Lakewood kids from using these products,” Gutwein said in a statement.
Rowdan, a manager at Puff N Stuff of Lakewood, 8460 W. Colfax Ave., said she always makes sure to check the IDs of customers who come to the tobacco shop. She said she preferred to not give her last name for this story, because she didn't feel comfortable with it.
“(The licensing system) is making everyone else pay more, and then the prices (of tobacco products) go up just in general. It's a domino effect, it effects everything,” said Rowdan.
The new tobacco ordinance is set to become effective on March 2. Lakewood will become the 12th community in the state to license tobacco retailers and the largest one to do so.
“People who use tobacco products know that it is going to kill them. What I'm worried about is seeing my classmates using these products,” said Lydia Calkins at the Jan. 28 City Council meeting. Calkins is a senior at Lakewood High School. “All the kids around me are smoking, and I think this can help put an end to it.”
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