ASPEN, Colo. - Aspen, one of the more environmentally friendly cities in Colorado, has now made a change that affects people under 21 in regards to tobacco. With doing so, they’ve become the first city in the state to do so.
If you were born in 1998, you may not agree with the decision the city of Aspen is making.
“This is very much part of our DNA is Aspen, we are a progressive community, we are not afraid to push an agenda,” said Steve Skadron, Mayor of Aspen.
Pushing the agenda comes in the form of chewing, or smoking. “Minimum legal sales age to buy tobacco products, goes from 18 to 21,” said Skadron.
Skadron says the decision to prohibit tobacco and e-cigarettes sales to those under 21 starting January 1st, 2018 was a easy choice to make.
“It’s such a contradiction with the way we live our lives up here, so this wasn’t a hard stretch for me or our city council members,” said Skadron.
City council members were presented with the plan to help curb addiction by the County Medical Officer, Kimberly Levin.
“90% of adults who are smokers, starting smoking before the age of 18,” said Levin.
She believes prohibiting those sales will now benefit the youth in the future.
“This legislation really points towards the 12 to 17 year olds and trying to prevent them from starting a lifetime addiction,” said Levin.
While many in Aspen are happy with the decision, others across the state remain skeptical.
“It’s ridiculous that somebody can be drafted into the military and not be able to have a cigarette while they do that,” said Ian Golba, of Grand Junction.
However, Aspen thinks this is a risk worth taking as they will create a local tobacco sales license for this ordinance. Doing so, will cost them money due to a Colorado statute.
“If a city tries to control cigarettes in any way and the language is a fee, license, or a tax on cigarettes then they forgo the money that comes from the state,” said Levin.
City officials estimate they will forgo around $75,000 thousand dollars a year they get from Colorado from cigarette tax due to this change.
“We do understand we want this go to other cities, and other cities to adopt this as a way of protecting youth and creating healthy communities,” said Levin.
Making Aspen an even more healthy community, Mayor Skadron thinks the youth is a good place to start.
“I’m hopeful that will contribute towards the goal of lower smoking rates in young adults and the subsequent life long addiction that comes from that,” said Skadron.