Boulder takes steps to curb youth tobacco use with new regulations on vaping products

Recognizing the distinction that Colorado leads the nation in youth e-cigarette use, Boulder City Council recently took measures to reverse the vaping trend.

With a unanimous vote, the city will limit the purchase of tobacco products to those 21 and older, prohibit flavored options and limit the amount of electronic smoking devices that can be sold to an individual in a 24-hour period. One exception: establishments that exclude those under 21 can sell menthol-flavored products until the end of this year. The changes will go into effect Oct. 17. In all cases, government-issued identification verifying age will be required.

After seeing a steady decline in usage between 2015-17, a national survey found an alarming surge in youth tobacco use in 2018. The percentage of high school students who said they vaped – or used e-cigarettes – jumped by 78%, one-fifth of the total U.S. population in that age group, according to a 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey. Among middle school students, current e-cigarette use increased by 48%.

Locally, a study found that 46% of Boulder Valley School District high school students have used an electronic vaping device and a full 65% believe it would be easy or very easy to get electronic vapor products if they wanted. Of those BVSD students who reported recent use and are under the age of 18, a quarter of them were able to purchase their own vaping product at a gas station, convenience store, grocery store or drugstore.

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