It’s a power move. Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper signed an executive order on Friday targeting vape shop owners selling to minors. One of its actions is to require the Colorado Department of Revenue to double its number of compliance checks on vape shops, convenience stores and other retail locations.
Hickenlooper’s order also asked Colorado’s congress to increase the legal age to purchase vaping and tobacco products from 18 to 21. He asked for swift action, wanting a law to go into effect by Jan. 2019. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) recently announced that Colorado teens have the highest incidence of vaping in the country, according to press note on the Hickenlooper’s state governor’s website.
The move was also in response to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Scott Gottlieb calling the current rise in teen vaping an epidemic. “To lead the nation in youth vaping is intolerable,” stated Hickenlooper through a press note on the state’s governor’s website. “Collectively, we can help ensure families better understand the lifetime health impact of vaping at a young age and work to decrease the number of youths turning to this popular, yet problematic form of nicotine.”
The order takes several concrete steps that are within the governor’s existing authority, such as extending “the current prohibition on smoking in state buildings to e-cigarettes and vaping and extending prohibitions on smoking and vaping to the grounds of state buildings, not just the buildings themselves (i.e. it creates smoke free campuses).”
It also directs CDPHE to “issue a health advisory on e-cigarettes and vaping, and to investigate the association between vaping and other risky behavior (e.g. binge drinking and substance use) and identify programs to prevent these behaviors.”
The executive order is supported by members of the Colorado medical community, including the University of Colorado Cancer Center and the Children’s Hospital Colorado. “Vaping can lead to nicotine addiction, and can be associated with other risky behaviors that can affect a teen’s health,” said Tista Ghosh, interim Chief Medical Officer for CDPHE. “Our state data shows that teens who vape are more likely to use alcohol, drugs and engage in risky sexual behaviors.”
Additionally, while at a news conference held at Children’s Hospital Colorado, the governor signed a proclamation recognizing this month as Vape-Free November across Colorado.