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21 is the new 18 for nicotine products

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By Terri Wiebold

Colorado is one of only 12 states that does not require licensing of tobacco retailers, and current state law prohibits the sale of tobacco products to minors under the age of 18. The City of Castle Pines recently passed an ordinance which imposes licensing requirements on tobacco retailers and raises the legal sales age for tobacco products from 18 to 21 – in line with the recent changes to federal regulations.

According to city staff, the primary goal of the ordinance is to prevent access to tobacco and nicotine products by minors.

“I’m just glad we’re doing this,” stated Councilmember Deborah Mulvey. “I think we’re being bold and we’re doing what is necessary.”

In addition to raising the legal age to 21, this ordinance prohibits tobacco retailers from locating within 500 feet of a youth-centered facility like a park, school or recreation center.

According to the Tri-County Health Department, 41% of high school students in Douglas County reported purchasing vaping products from a gas station or convenience store, and 52% accessed vaping products from another source such as family, friends or the black market.

The use of e-cigarettes and vaping has been linked to cases of severe lung injuries across the country, including Colorado, and the rising popularity of vaping has increased the risk of youth addiction to tobacco and nicotine.

To combat these health issues and to decrease tobacco and nicotine addiction rates, the Centers for Disease Control and the Tri-County Health Department recommended the adoption and active enforcement of local regulations directed at retailers.

Other recommended actions included prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products or flavored vaping products. City Council deemed this to be “too restrictive on the choice of persons over the age of 21” and opted to omit that regulation from its ordinance.

To read Ordinance No. 19-18 in its entirety, visit



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