The Colorado House of Representatives has passed a bill that will raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21-years-old, passing it by a 39-22 vote on Monday and getting the state one step closer to being in compliance with the federal age increase passed at the end of December. It also requires all retailers to obtain a new license in order to keep selling such products.
Additionally, the bill repeals the $100 fine currently in place for a minor that purchases or attempts to purchase tobacco products. It also prohibits a retailer from permitting a person under 18 years of age to sell or participate in the sale of products, and increases the number of compliance checks that a retailer will go through to two per year, or at least the minimum number annually required by federal regulation, whichever number is greater. Retail tobacco stores would also be prohibited from allowing anyone under 21 to enter the premises.
Should the bill pass, all tobacco retailers would be required to obtain a license by July 1, 2021 at a cost of $550. New tobacco retailers will be required to be at least 500 feet away from a school, and retail locations that sell electronic smoking device products will be prohibited from advertising those products in a manner that is visible from outside the retail location. It also increase the fines for a retailer who sells to an underage person.
Finally, the bill bans the online sale of tobacco or e-cigarette products, except cigars, unless the shipment is made directly to another retailer, which would require the consumer to pick up the products in person from that retailer.
The bill, HB20-1001, is sponsored by Reps. Kyle Mullica, D-Northglenn; and Colin Larson, R-Littleton; and Sens. Jeff Bridges, D-Greenwood Village; and Kevin Priola, R-Henderson. It now heads to the Senate for that chamber’s consideration.