T21 and Retailer Licensing Laws Help Limit Youth Tobacco Access

August 13th, 2020

Denver is shown from above. Denver City Council passed a bill prohibiting tobacco sales to anyone under the age of 21. Learn more about vaping and tobacco prevention in Colorado.In July, Gov. Jared Polis signed House Bill 20-1001 into law, raising the minimum legal age to buy tobacco products in Colorado from 18 to 21 years of age, aligning the state with federal legislation that was enacted in December 2019.

Although the federal T21 law applied to Coloradans starting at the end of last year, the passage of this state law makes it possible for further enforcement and regulation to take place locally.

Along with raising the minimum tobacco purchasing age, the law requires every retailer of tobacco and nicotine products in Colorado to be licensed before July 1, 2021. The Colorado Department of Revenue will collaborate with local authorities to conduct compliance checks at each retailer twice annually, and the department holds the power to revoke licenses if retailers are not following the new policies.

The bill repeals a past law that criminalized the purchase or attempted purchase of tobacco products by a minor. Under the new law, retailers who sell electronic smoking devices (ESD) cannot advertise or visibly promote ESDs outside of the store. Lastly, the law states that retailers cannot allow employees under the age of 18 to sell or participate in the sale of cigarettes, tobacco products or nicotine products.  

Read the full Colorado law here >>