Last November, former Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order with the goal of decreasing the use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products. The Behavior Risk Survey from the Centers for …
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Last November, former Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order with the goal of decreasing the use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products. The Behavior Risk Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed Colorado as the country with the highest amount of youth who use e-cigarettes and other vaping products.
Lakewood City Council will have an opportunity at a Jan. 28 City Council meeting to pass a tobacco licensing system ordinance that community groups like Citizens for a Healthier Lakewood feel will help reduce youth tobacco use. If passed, retailers who sell non-cigarette tobacco products would have to pay a licensing application fee — something that isn’t required in Lakewood right now. It would also require non-cigarette tobacco products like the popular Juul to be put behind counters in retail stores, and it would see the clerk age to sell tobacco raised to 18.
“This is the place where government should get involved. We need to structure our ordinances and laws to help people make better decisions, because if not, there’s long term impact on individuals and communities,” said Charmaine Brittain, chair for Citizens for a Healthier Lakewood. Citizens for a Healthier Lakewood spearheaded the license. “This needs to be addressed now. Time has passed, make this happen.”
Other municipal cities like Golden have similar ordinances. In Golden, tobacco retailers are required to purchase an annual license to sell non-cigarette tobacco products. Saoirse Charis-Graves, a Golden City Council member who was instrumental in tobacco regulation in Golden, discussed the importance of putting non-tobacco products behind counters in retail stores.
“If you’ve got tobacco related products right there, and they look like candy, then they’re attractive. But if you put a barrier in between the customer and product, it’s less tempting,” said Charis-Graves.
Mary Szarmach, the vice president of government affairs for the tobacco retailer Smoker Friendly, has previously called the ordinance harsh. Szarmach said Smoker Friendly has a 95 percent compliance rate on legal age sales.
According to a 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado survey, 68 percent of Colorado youth under the age of 18 have successfully purchased tobacco products at a retail store.
“This is a really amazing opportunity for City Council to use the power they have to make a positive impact on the families and health of our community, and I really hope they’ll take that opportunity to do so,” said Susanne Cornado, a Citizens for a Healthier Lakewood member.
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