Reducing Youth Access and Use of Tobacco in Edgewater


From the Tobacco-Free Jeffco initiative of Jeffco Public Health:

Youth Tobacco Use

  • Almost 90% of all regular smokers begin smoking at or before age 18. 1
  • A 2015 survey indicated that among high school students in Colorado:
    26% are e-cigarette users, 8.9% are current cigar users, 6% are cigarette users, and 4.9% are chew users. 2
  • E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth. 3
  • Current e-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled from 2013-2014. 4

Youth Access to Tobacco in the Retail Setting

  • Two out of three Colorado youth, under the age of 18, who attempted to buy cigarettes were successful. 2
  • Almost 60% of Colorado high school students under the age of 18 reported that it is easy or very easy to get cigarettes. 2
  • A study conducted by the University of Colorado at Denver reported a sales to minor violation rate of 25.3%. 5
  • From February 2015 to February 2016, three FDA inspections were conducted at three Edgewater non-liquor store tobacco retail outlets. Two of the three Edgewater stores sold to a minor. 6
  • Teenage store clerks are a major source of tobacco for high school age smokers. 7                                           

How the Tobacco Industry Uses the Retail Environment

  • Pervasive retail tobacco promotional practices, including product and advertising placement and pricing tactics, known to influence youth towards smoking, contribute to increased initiation, experimentation and regular smoking. 8
  • Tobacco companies now spend more than 94 percent ($8.3 billion) of their total marketing budget to advertise and promote their products in convenience stores, gas stations and other retail outlets. 9
    • Note: Two-thirds of middle school students visit a convenience store, small grocery, or liquor store at least once a week, and weekly or more frequent exposure to retail tobacco marketing has been associated with a 50% increase in the odds of ever smoking. 10
  • Cigarettes are advertised most heavily in stores where adolescents shop. 10
  • The tobacco industry continues to market and sell products that are appealing to youth in sweet flavors at cheap prices.

Gaps in the FDA and State Laws

  • Existing Federal and State law including the final deeming regulations from the FDA do not require:
    • tobacco retailers to have a license to sell tobacco.
    • suspension or revocation of ability to sell tobacco by retailers that repeatedly break tobacco-related laws
    • prohibition of self-service displays of cigars and e-cigarettes.
    • prohibition of flavors for smokeless tobacco, cigars and e-cigarettes.

Best Practices and Proposed Solutions

  • Requiring a license to sell tobacco is essential to youth tobacco prevention:
    • Licensing is a proven approach to increasing and enforcing restrictions on illegal sales
      and other known youth-targeted promotional, product placement and pricing tactics. 11
    • Licensing is a common-sense approach to ensure that retailers operate legally, ethically and responsibly when it comes to preventing illegal tobacco sales to kids. 12
    • Local tobacco retail licensing programs that include retailer fees high enough to pay for enforcement have been shown to be the most effective policy at reducing illegal sales by merchants. 13
  • Minimum Recommended Provisions in a Tobacco Retail License Include:
    • Language that states that a violation of any federal, state or local tobacco law is a violation
      of the retail license
    • Increase clerk age to sell tobacco to 18
    • Prohibit self-service of all tobacco/nicotine products and paraphernalia
    • No admittance under 18 in tobacco business
    • Limit location and number of tobacco retailers (near schools, for example)
  • Cutting Edge Tobacco Retail Policy:
    • Raise minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21
    • Set minimum package size
    • Prohibit price discounting of tobacco products
    • Prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products
    • And more….contact Jefferson County Public Health for additional provisions

For more information


phone: 303-275-7558


  1. S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cente
  2. The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, 2015.
  3. Singh T, Arrazola RA, Corey CG, et al. Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students— United States, 2011–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:361–367.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. E-cigarette use triples among middle and high school students in just one year. April 16, 2015.
  5. Brief Report: Arnold H. Levinson and Jennifer L. PatnaikA Practical Way to Estimate Retail Tobacco Sales Violation Rates More Accurately Nicotine Tob Res (2013) 15 (11): 1952-1955 first published online July 1, 2013 doi:10.1093/ntr/ntt084
  6. FDA inspection database.
  7. DiFranza JR, Coleman M. Sources of Tobacco for Youths in Communities with Strong Enforcement of Youth Access Laws. Tobacco Control, 10:323-328, 2001.
  8. Trends In Tobacco Industry Marketing – Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (
  9. S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Cigarette Report for 2013, 2016
  10. Henriksen, L, et al., Association of retail tobacco marketing with adolescent smoking,” American Journal of Public Health, 94(12):2081-3, 2004.
  11. McLaughlin I. License to Kill?: Tobacco Retailer Licensing as an Effective Enforcement Tool. Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, 2010.
  12. STORE: Strategic Tobacco Retail Effort. Talking Points: Retailer Licensing.
  13. The Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing: Tobacco Retail Licensing Reduces Tobacco Sales to Minors: Six Arguments for Enforcement. February 2005.

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