Aspen, Colo. Raises Tobacco Purchase Age to 21

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The Tobacco 21 movement can plant its first flag in Colorado, as last night the Aspen City Council voted 5-0 to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21-years-old.

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.

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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.

“Aspen is such a health-conscious town and our residents and guests enjoy life here for the clean air and exercise opportunities,” said Steven Skadron, mayor of Aspen, via a press release. “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,” he added.

The new law, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, does not criminalize the possession or use of tobacco or alternative nicotine products such as e-cigarettes by persons between the ages of 18 and 20, however.

The city is also creating a new tobacco retailer license, which will cost $500 per location for 2018. Money from those fees is used to offset the estimated $75,000 in tax revenue the city will be losing from increasing the minimum purchase age, as well as for administering compliance checks of existing retailers.

Aspen is home to approximately 7,000 residents, but is best known for being a destination for skiing and resorts.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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