Eagle Town Board members reconsider raising the tobacco purchase age to 21
In August vote, board split 4-3, with the majority saying that 18-year olds are considered adults
EAGLE — You might have to be 21 to buy tobacco products in Eagle after all.
During Tuesday’s meeting, several Town Board members said they would reconsider this summer’s decision against raising the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. The town will still raise tobacco taxes.
In that late August Town Board vote, split 4-3, the majority said 18-year olds are considered adults who are responsible for their own decisions.
Tuesday evening, though, while considering an ordinance to raise tobacco taxes but not the purchase age, and following passionate public testimony, Eagle Mayor Anne McKibbin asked if other board members would reconsider raising the tobacco purchase age to 21.
Several members said they would. The Town Board will bring back the ordinance in November with the purchase age raised to 21, and vote on it again. You’ll still need to be 21 to sell tobacco products.
Vail and several other communities around the region passed similar ordinances.
Candace Eves, a prevention specialist with Eagle County Schools, told board members Tuesday night that Colorado leads the nation in vaping, the FDA does not yet regulate the vaping industry, and one vape cartridge contains as much nicotine as a pack and a half of cigarettes.
Eves was one of a dozen people who urged Eagle’s town board to raise the town’s tobacco purchase age 21.
It’s designed to be addictive. Students vape and want another hit in 20-40 minutes, Eves said. Also, students believe that some products do not contain nicotine. They all do, Eves said.
“This is a drug, an addictive drug. There has never been anything like this,” town board member Paul Witt said.
Witt, a fifth-grade teacher, said he does not want Eagle to be the only place in four or five counties with a purchase age of 18.
Red Canyon High School Principal Troy Dudley called it “an epidemic.” He has been with the district since 1998, and said he has never seen anything like this.
“This is everywhere around the country,” Dudley said.
Vaping has killed 33 people across the country, and school districts are filing lawsuits against the tobacco companies behind it, the town board was told during public comment.
“It is highly addictive and it is wrecking them,” Henry McQueeney, Eagle Valley Middle School assistant principal said.
While policymakers are celebrating a big drop in Colorado’s individual health insurance prices for 2020, they’re also scrambling to combat the sharp decline in the number of carriers in rural parts of the state where 22 of 64 counties have just one option on the Obamacare marketplace.