It’s going to get a whole lot harder for teens to buy non-cigarette tobacco products in Golden.
After months of discussion and overwhelming support from community members, Golden is implementing restrictions not seen anywhere else in Jefferson County concerning the sale of non-cigarette tobacco products.
The Golden City Council unanimously approved an ordinance at its April 26 meeting that requires retailers that sell the products to get a license from the city. The ordinance takes effect Tuesday, May 8. It applies to items including Camel orbs, toothpick-like strips and sticks that contain nicotine, which look and taste like candy and currenlty are being test-marketed in the Denver metro area.
The goal is to reduce tobacco access to minors and encourage retailers to be responsible. Golden is the first city in the county to institute such a license and one of only four in the state. The other cities that require such licenses are Fountain, Manitou Springs and Steamboat Springs.
The ordinance was proposed by Jefferson County Public Health and Golden High School’s Breathe Easy Team student group.
“It has been a fun, educational and eye-opening process,” Hannah Fritz, a Golden High School senior and Breathe Easy member, said. “Tonight is the night we have all been waiting for.”
The group has made several presentations to the City Council since September.
“This is a very exciting night for us,” Beau Hogan, a Golden High School senior and Breathe Easy member, added. “All of our work is finally coming down to a boiling point.”
In addition to the creation of a non-cigarette tobacco license for retailers, the ordinance would require clerks in tobacco retail businesses to be older than 18 and bans anyone younger than 18 from entering a tobacco retail or specialty store without adult supervision.
“I strongly believe everyone is affected by this,” Dr. Julia Atkins, a Golden family physician, said. “I have had experiences almost every day involving families who are being affected by tobacco. From simple things in the community such as seeing people — even teenagers on local street corners or bus stops, smoking tobacco — to seeing a sick child in my office, wheezing, brought in by a parent or relative who is obviously a smoker, or seeing some of my older patients who come in with emphysema or lung cancer.”
A non-cigarette tobacco license will cost retailers $150 a year, with a one-time $25 application fee. City Clerk Susan Brooks said the funds generated will cover administrative fees for the City Clerk’s Office and the Local Liquor Licensing Authority, which will issue the licenses. The funds will also cover Golden Police Department costs to carry out enforcement measures and compliance checks, which may occur about twice each year.
Any non-cigarette tobacco violations are subject to a Local Liquor Licensing Authority review, which may hand down a seven-day suspension for a single offense within a year, a 30-day suspension for a second offense within a year and a license revocation for three or more violations within a year.
“I think Golden is a progressive town that really cares about the health and wellness of its community,” said Susan Westhof, a Jefferson County Public Health tobacco health specialist. “I think it’s a really big opportunity for Golden to be a leader for other communities in the county and the state of Colorado to follow suit and really make youth a priority and do everything they can to keep kids from getting tobacco illegally.”