CALPHO is actively supporting two bills currently being considered in the Colorado Legislature; HB19-1076 Clean Indoor Air Act Add E-Cigarettes Remove Exemptions, and HB19-1033 Local Governments May Regulate Nicotine Products. Both bills are critical for all Colorado communities trying to prevent kids from becoming addicted to tobacco products and protecting everyone in the state from the harmful affects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke.
HB19-1076 will modernize the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act (CCIAA) by prohibiting the use of electronic smoking devices, known as e-cigarettes and often called vaping, in public spaces and workplaces, and would also remove some of the outdated exemptions in the Act. The vaping trend in Colorado is very real, especially among youth. Last month the Surgeon General declared youth vaping an epidemic, warning of serious health risks and calling for swift action to curb youth access. Yet, recent surveys show that only 50% of Colorado youth believe e-cigarettes are risky and Colorado has the highest rate of teen e-cigarette use in the nation.
Colorado passed the CCIAA in 2006 which prohibits smoking in enclosed public places. Marijuana smoking was added to the law in 2013. However, the CCIAA does not explicitly ban the use of “modern smoking devices” such as e-cigarettes and vaping devices. Such devices contain cartridges filled with a liquid that is vaporized by a battery-operated heating element. The aerosol is inhaled by the user and then exhaled into the environment. So if you are around someone who is using e-cigarettes you are likely breathing an aerosol of exhaled nicotine and other fine particles of toxins.
Fifteen states across the U.S. have already added e-cigarettes to their smoke free laws and dozens of local governments in Colorado have already adopted local restrictions on e-cigarettes. It is time for the entire state to modernize CCIAA to protect everyone’s right to breathe tobacco smoke/aerosol free air. It’s also time for local governments to have the freedom to regulate tobacco products including cigarettes and e-cigarettes. This is what HB19-1033 is trying to tackle.
In Colorado, if a locality chooses to license, access a fee, or tax cigarettes, they forgo their share of the cigarette tax revenue that exists in state law. This penalty is also assessed if a locality attempts to tax cigarettes through citizen initiative or referred measure. In addition, Colorado law defines different types of localities and thus counties and statutory cities are unable to regulate cigarettes in the same way a home-rule municipality can. HB19-1033 removes the fiscal penalty and will allow localities to make their own decisions on regulating cigarettes in terms of licensing, taxation, and assessing fees. The legislation also explicitly includes the authority of localities to raise the age of tobacco product purchase to 21, and to regulate those products’ purchase in the same manner as other controlled substances, such as marijuana and alcohol.
CALPHO is excited to join with many partners, including the organizations in the Colorado Tobacco Free Alliance, to update the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, and allow local governments to regulate all tobacco products, to help all people in the state to stay healthy and avoid a lifetime of nicotine addiction.