Effective July 1, 2011, it is a criminal offense to sell electronic cigarettes (“e-cigarettes”) to minors in the State of Colorado. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed the law in March, which is codified at Colorado Revised Statutes, section 18-13-121. The new law characterizes e-cigarettes as a “tobacco product.” A person who violates the new law commits a class 2 petty offense, which may be punishable by a fine of two hundred dollars. The new law also provides that municipalities may impose more stringent requirements than provided in this section of the Colorado Criminal Code.
With this new law, Colorado becomes the most recent state to prohibit e-cigarette sales to minors. States and units of local government have enacted similar regulations in the wake of the Food & Drug Administration’s announcement in April that it will regulate smokeless electronic e-cigarettes as tobacco products and not as drug-delivery devices. Regulations such as these are imposed on the basis of governmental authority to provide for and promote the health, safety, and welfare of the general public. As state and local governments increase their focus on the sale and use of e-cigarettes, the Troutman Sanders Tobacco practice will continue to monitor developments in this area.