Broomfield officials passed new smoking regulations Oct. 22, including expanding the definition to include vaping and e-cigarette use.
Starting Jan. 1, smoking will be banned in public spaces, tobacco retailers will need a license to sell, and the minimum age to purchase tobacco products will be raised from 18 to 21.
Open space could be “any park, reservation, playground, recreation facility”
Council members David Beacom, Guyleen Castriotta, Bette Erickson, Kimberly Groom, Stan Jezierski, Elizabeth Law-Evans Deven Shaff and Sharon Tessier voted for the ordinances. Ward 2 Councilman Mike Shelton voted against.
The ordinances were presented by Broomfield’s Public Health Department and the Broomfield Youth for Youth group in an ongoing effort to curtail teen vaping in Broomfield.
Broomfield and Boulder counties have among the highest e-cigarette youth use rates in the state and country. According to the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, 36% of high school students in the two counties currently use e-cigarettes. and almost half have tried them.
“It’s extremely important to protect youth from addiction, because that’s something that’s going to impact their life,” Broomfield teen Gabrielle French said. “I just want to thank all of you, genuinely, for what you’re doing and how you’re taking action on this.”
Allison Long, with Broomfield’s public health department, relayed how Broomfield and Boulder counties have the highest youth vaping rate in the state and in the country. It was about a year ago when public health staff became aware of the high rates and began crafting recommendations.
Smoke-free policies are known to reduce second-hand smoke, support those wanting to quit, discourage youth from ever starting, and reduce tobacco related illnesses and death, Long said. It also prevents children and animals from ingesting tobacco waste and reduces pollution.
There are 24 cities in Colorado with license ordinances and 17 that have raised the minimum sale age to 21, including Denver, Boulder, Edgewater and Superior. Lafayette is in the process, as well.
Erin Seedorf, a former public health practitioner who has worked on passing smoke-free policies in the past, spoke as a mother and professor at Metro State University where she sees “first-hand the affects of vaping and the prevacity of it on campus.”
It is “overwhelming” to see 18-year-olds using vaping products, she said, but she mostly came to speak to council because her family, including a son in high school and one in middle school, have been confronted by the trend.
One day when picking her son up from campus, she saw his three coaches vaping on the field. In the car on the way home they heard an advertisement for vaping on the radio. That evening her middle-school-aged son brought up to his parents that there were a few middle school students who were caught with e-cigarettes that day.
“It’s a very important issue to address as parents, as practitioners and just as people,” she said.
Groom, who has two sons ages 18 and 21, sided with passing regulations. She believes vaping is a significant issue in every home, but that a community approach – from city regulations to schools enforcing existing rules – needs to be in place.
“I also want to say the No. 1 entity that is going to change behavior is parenting,” she said. “So make sure all parents tell their kids ‘no,’ no matter what and make them have a consequence if they’re found vaping or doing something that’s not helpful to them.”
On July 1, the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act was updated to include electronic smoking devices. The proposed ordinance seeks to align Broomfield municipal code with Colorado statute.