Thursday, February 21, 2008

Teen Tobacco Use Ban Passes Senate

The Senate passed Wednesday a bill that would ban minors from possessing tobacco.

SB 88, which its sponsor calls the "Teen Tobacco Use Prevention Act," does not criminalize the possession or use of tobacco by children under the age of 18. Instead, the bill authorizes law enforcement officers to confiscate cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco or any other tobacco product found in a minor's possession.

The bill also forbids tobacco retailers and others from selling or otherwise providing minors with cigarettes or other tobacco products. Violation of those provisions is made a petty offense subject to a fine for each violation. The bill would require tobacco merchants to ask for identification before selling tobacco products.

SB 88 also preserves the right of Colorado municipalities to enact criminal prohibitions against possession of tobacco products by minors.

Sen. Ron Tupa, D-Boulder, sponsored the bill in the Senate, while the House sponsor is Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.