Bill to stop underage smoking
passes with strong bipartisan support
DENVER—Today the full Senate gave initial approval to Senate Bill 88, sponsored by Senator Ron Tupa (D-Boulder), which would close a loophole in law and make it illegal for minors to possess or use tobacco products.
Currently, Colorado law only prohibits the sale and distribution of tobacco products to people younger than 18 years old. Colorado was one of 15 states to not have that law. This bill goes is a big step in reducing the incidence of teens picking up the habit of smoking.
Ninety percent of tobacco users pick up the habit before age 18. This bill will help keep our children safe and will ultimately save taxpayer dollars in long-term health costs.
About 92,000 youth smokers 17 years old and younger are expected to die prematurely as a result of tobacco use. For every person who dies from tobacco, another 20 suffer with at least one serious tobacco-related illness.
For the first time ever it requires a retailer to ask for an identification card if the purchaser looks younger than 30 years old. According to testimony from Jodi Radke with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, 54 percent of teens were not asked for identification before purchasing tobacco products.
The bill will next be considered by the full Senate on third and final reading.