Aspen City Council Prohibits Tobacco Sales to Those Under 21

Aspen City Council Prohibits Tobacco Sales to Those Under 21

Contact: CJ Oliver, Director of Environmental Health and Sustainability, 970-920-5008 or

Aspen, Colorado – June 12, 2017 – Aspen City Council, today, passed an ordinance prohibiting the sales of tobacco and e-cigarettes to those who are under 21 years old.  Council opted to raise the age from 18 to 21 in an effort to curb young adult tobacco addiction.

“Aspen is such a health-conscious town and our residents and guests enjoy life here for the clean air and exercise opportunities.  Our leadership is essential in creating a City known for its healthy lifestyle and ethic.  This law will positively contribute toward the goal of lowering smoking rates in young adults,” said Steven Skadron, Aspen Mayor.

According to the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation, 90% of smokers start the habit by the age of 18 and delaying tobacco use until that age can reduce the chance of someone becoming a smoker.

Aspen City Council worked closely with Pitkin County Medical Officer, Dr. Kimberly Levin, to raise the age for tobacco sales.  She worked with the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation for over a year with the goal of having Aspen join 225 other municipalities and the states of California and Hawaii have raised the age of purchase to 21.

“Along with educational efforts, increasing the age from 18 to 21 will make the single largest impact protecting our youth from a lifetime addiction to nicotine thereby preventing serious medical issues associated with cigarette smoking including heart disease, stroke, multiple cancers including lung cancer, asthma, emphysema, and multiple others,” Levin said.  “In Colorado, smoking is the number one cause of preventable deaths.”

The City of Aspen will create a local tobacco sales license so sellers can adhere to the ordinance.  It is estimated that the City will forgo sales tax of approximately $75,000 per year when it restricts 18-20 year old people from buying tobacco products.  Additionally, it will cost approximately $3,000 annually to administer the program, which includes outreach, vendor education, bi-annual inspections of sales facilities and other activities related to ongoing administration.

“We are proud to be a part of the solution to curb young adult tobacco use, and to be taking a leadership role in creating a roadmap that other jurisdictions in Colorado can follow regarding this important public health movement.” said CJ Oliver, Environmental Health and Sustainability Director for City of Aspen.

The law takes effect January 1, 2018.


Posted on Monday, June 12, 2017