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Colorado increases efforts to fight ‘epidemic' of teen vaping

Posted: 9:39 PM, Nov 02, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-03 04:24:02Z

DENVER – Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order on Friday to curb the use of e-cigarettes among teenagers in Colorado.

The executive order directs state regulators to increase checks of shops to make sure they aren’t selling vape products to minors.

Hickenlooper also proposed that the state legislature look into other tactics to regulate e-cigarettes and vaping products.

One recommendation is to raise the purchasing age from 18 to 21 in order to prevent teens from getting ahold of vaping devices.

Hickenlooper also said in a press conference on Friday in Aurora that the order doubles the number of compliance checks on places selling vaping products in order to prevent the selling of customers under the age of 18.

The order also requires the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to issue a health advisory on e-cigarettes and vaping.

Juul, a leading manufacture of vaping products, sent Denver7 a statement in response to Hickenlooper’s executive order:

"We support Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper's call to raise the purchasing age for cigarettes, tobacco or vaping products to 21+. At JUUL Labs, we support 21+ legislation at the local, state and federal levels because we believe it will take industry and regulators working together to restrict youth access. Underage use is directly opposed to our mission of eliminating cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to combustible cigarettes.

"While we believe flavors play an important role in helping adult smokers switch to vapor technology, we also support reasonable regulation to restrict advertising and naming of inappropriate flavors such as cotton candy and gummy bear that are directed at children.”

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released results of the Colorado Healthy Kids Survey earlier this year, which showed Colorado ranked the highest for youth vaping out of 37 states surveyed across the United States.

According to the survey, only 7 percent of high school students currently smoke cigarettes, while 27 percent said they vape nicotine. The statewide school survey shows 87 percent of Colorado high school students think cigarette smoking is risky, but only 50 percent believe those risks apply to vaping nicotine.

The CDPHE said a separate, more comprehensive state survey shows about half of Colorado high school students have tried vaping nicotine, don’t see it as risky and think vaping products are easy to get, even though it is illegal to purchase them as minors.