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Posted on: March 11, 2019

Edgewater Raises Age for Sale of Tobacco to 21 and Increases Smoke/Vapor-Free Protections

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Jefferson County, Colo. – On Tuesday, March 5, 2019, the Edgewater City Council voted unanimously to raise the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products in Edgewater from 18 to 21. This ordinance requires that all tobacco retailers examine identification to confirm the customer is at least 21 years of age before selling any tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Raising the minimum sale age is a proven strategy for reducing youth access to, and initiation of, tobacco by making it more difficult for youth to obtain these products. Edgewater is the fifth community in Colorado to raise the age of sale to 21, joining Aspen, Avon, Basalt and Carbondale.

“We, as the elected representatives of Edgewater citizens, are continually making choices to help ensure the health of our citizens and to find the best avenues to help protect the health of our youth from tobacco and tobacco-related products,” said Laura Keegan, Mayor of Edgewater. “I’m proud that Edgewater has been a leader in tobacco regulations for nearly a decade and hope we will continue to be a champion for decades to come.”

In addition to raising the minimum age of sale for tobacco to 21, Edgewater’s ordinance also includes the following provisions:

  • The minimum age to acquire a tobacco retailer license will be raised from 18 to 21.
  • Retail tobacco businesses that had previously required patrons to be 18 years or older for entry will raise the minimum age for entry to 21, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • It will be illegal to provide tobacco to any person under the age of 21 by gift, sale or any other means.

Beyond aiming to reduce youth access to tobacco products, Edgewater’s ordinance also expands the city’s existing smoke- and vapor-free law. In an effort to protect those who are disparately exposed to secondhand smoke and aerosol, smoking and vaping will now be prohibited in public parks and recreation areas, as well as within 20 feet of public transportation waiting areas. These sorts of comprehensive smoke-free protections are also proven to reduce youth initiation of tobacco use.

"I couldn't be happier to see Edgewater once again leading the metro area in ensuring the safety of our children,” said Edgewater City Councilmember, Caleb Rountree. "Tobacco companies have preyed on children and young adults through the marketing of tobacco, specifically e-cigs, for years. With our vote, Edgewater is standing up for the safety and health of our community and young people.”

While fewer youth are smoking cigarettes, the rapid increase of e-cigarette use has the potential to undo decades of declining youth tobacco use. The 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey shows that one-third of Colorado high school students are currently using at least one form of tobacco — including 27 percent who currently use e-cigarettes. According to the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, e-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth, and current e-cigarette use among high school students nearly doubled from 2017-2018. 

In response, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially declared youth e-cigarette use an epidemic and the Jefferson County Board of Health declared it a public health crisis. In November 2018, Governor Hickenlooper signed an executive order directing state agencies to take action to limit the use of tobacco products, including vaping products by youth.

“By reducing youth access to tobacco and exposure to secondhand smoke and vapor, the City of Edgewater has once again proven itself a leader in protecting the health of its residents and visitors,” said Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Executive Director at Jefferson County Public Health. “Raising the minimum age of sale to 21 is an important step towards one day ensuring the first tobacco-free generation.”

Jefferson County Public Health and the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Alliance commend the City of Edgewater for taking the bold step to join the seven states and more than 430 cities and counties across the nation who are working to make this a reality. 

The ordinance goes into effect on March 31, 2019. At that time, any retailer found selling tobacco to a person under the age of 21 will be at risk of having their tobacco retailer license revoked. More information will be available on the City of Edgewater’s Ordinance NO. 2019-04 in the coming weeks in sections 6.14, 10.7.60, and 10.1630b of the Edgewater Municipal Code.


About the Tobacco Prevention Initiative (TPI)

Jefferson County Public Health’s TPI continues to work toward reducing the toll of tobacco in our communities through sustainable solutions to the problem of tobacco use and exposure. To learn more about current initiatives and how to get involved, visit www.tobaccofreejeffco.com, email tobaccofree@jeffco.us, or call 303-275-7555.


About Jefferson County Public Health

Public health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan through prevention, education and partnerships for all people. To learn more about JCPH, visit https://www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.


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