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Snowmass Will Raise Age To Buy Nicotine Products

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Snowmass Village is considering raising the age for purchasing nicotine products. Currently, anyone over age 18 can purchase them, but concerns about teen use have the council considering raising the age to 21.


The council discussed the change because of parent concerns about vaping, or smoking e-cigarettes. That issue came up at a council listening session held earlier this month at the middle school, according to council member Bill Madsen.


"It's really aimed toward nicotine in general, but the vaping is what brought it to the forefront," he said.


According to the Centers for Disease Control, consuming nicotine products before age 18 doubles the chance of developing a lifelong smoking habit. Teen cigarette use has dropped, but vaping is surging among teens.

Right now, the Colorado Department of Revenue makes sure retailers are compliant with state law and don’t sell to underage buyers. If the measure passes, Snowmasswould be on the hook to ensure that stores aren’t selling to people between 18 and 21.  Police Chief Brian Olson said he supports council's efforts, but likely won’t use his officers to enforce the change.  

The town would lose a projected $15,000 in state kick-backs from cigarette sales, due to a provision that bans tobacco regulation in Colorado. Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale have all raised their minimum age and passed tax increased to make up for the lost revenue.

Snowmass Town Council uniformly supports this idea. Madsen said he expects council to pass an ordinance sometime this winter.