COLORADO, USA — PAID CONTENT BY TRI-COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT/303 TOBACCO
Tri-County Health Department is thrilled that both Lone Tree and Castle Pines have recently passed local tobacco sales regulations that will allow for the enforcement of laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco products to persons under 21 years of age.
“This is one of many ongoing efforts in Douglas County to reduce youth vaping,” noted John Douglas Jr., MD, Executive Director with Tri-County Health Department. “The most recent data we have from the 2019 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS) show we are making progress in our efforts in Douglas County to help young people not become addicted to nicotine.”
The survey cited by Dr. Douglas found that in 2019, 20.8 percent of high school students in Douglas County reported vaping in the past 30 days, a number significantly lower than the state as a whole. This amounts to a nearly one-third drop in vaping among high school students in Douglas County from 2017 to 2019.
E-cigarette use, or vaping, by youth is a huge concern in Colorado and nationally. A Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) article noted that in 2019 the prevalence of self-reported current e-cigarette use was 27.5% among U.S. high school students and 10.5% among middle school students. Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among youth in the U.S., according to the JAMA article.
Dr. Douglas thanked several community groups, including the Douglas County Healthy Youth Coalition, Lone Tree Youth Commission and Douglas County Youth Leader Board, for helping bring about positive change seen in Douglas County in connection with youth tobacco use, especially vaping.
Tri-County Health Department has long recommended strong local tobacco retailer laws, active enforcement of these laws, and that retailer tobacco-sales education be prioritized. In 2019, the TCHD Board of Health passed a resolution declaring youth vaping a public health emergency, encouraging community action such as tobacco retailer licensing, and committing TCHD resources to support these efforts.
Curtis Hanock, coordinator of Douglas County Healthy Youth Coalition (DCHYC), said that his organization is appreciative of the actions taken by both Lone Tree and Castle Pines city councils to keep nicotine products out of the hands of persons under the age of 21. “It’s illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product, including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes to anyone under 21. It’s an important law and one we need to ensure is followed.”
“As a mother of two teenagers in Lone Tree, I appreciate that my city has taken proactive steps to safeguard the health of our young people,” said Lesley Casillas, leadership team member with DCHYC. “This law also helps us parents give more authority behind our parenting message of not using substances during youth to protect their overall health and wellbeing.”
Tri-County Health Department’s tobaccofree303.org website gives young people and parents resources regarding vaping and nicotine use, including tips on dealing with stress without turning to nicotine products. The site also details how the tobacco industry has historically targeted young people, communities of color, and individuals who identify as LGBTQ+.
Young people, parents, or retailers with questions about the new tobacco licensing regulations, including how to help protect young people in their own communities, are invited to contact their local municipalities or Taylor Roberts at Tri-County Health Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Tri-County Health Department
Tri-County Health Department serves over 1.5 million people in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties. It provides over 60 programs and services including birth certificates, immunizations, WIC, restaurant inspections, family planning, STI/HIV Testing, and infectious disease investigations. For more information, visit www.tchd.org, @TCHDHealth on Twitter, or @cotchd on Facebook.
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