Colorado could soon have its first city with a minimum age to purchase tobacco and electronic cigarettes of 21-years-old, as the Aspen City Council unanimously approved the first reading of a proposal on Monday.
As part of the proposal, the city is also seeking to create a new tobacco retailers license that would be required for a store to sell tobacco products. For 2018, that license would be priced at $500, though according to a memo issued by city staff, doing so would mean that the City would forego state tobacco sales tax revenues should it include cigarettes.
Retailers that sell to persons under 21 would face fines starting at $500 and a possible three day suspension of their license, escalating to $2,000 for a fourth violation and a revocation of their tobacco retailer license.
In addition, no one under 21 years old would be allowed to have any interaction with tobacco products should they work at a store that sells them, something the ordinance defines as selling, stocking, retrieving or otherwise handling tobacco products.
The proposal does not criminalize the possession or use of tobacco products by persons under 21.
A proposal to raise the age state wide was rejected by the Colorado House of Representatives in 2014.
The council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the matter on June 15. Should the proposal pass, the increase would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
Aspen is home to approximately 7,000 residents, but is best known for being a destination for skiing and resorts.