Colo. latest state considering e-cigarette limits

DENVER — Orange, strawberry and chocolate are a few of the nicotine flavors for sale at a suburban Denver store selling electronic cigarettes — battery-operated inhalers advertised as a better alternative to smoking because the nicotine is delivered through vapor, not smoke.

While tobacco can’t be sold to anyone under 18 in Colorado, there’s no legal minimum age for e-cigarettes here. That may change: Health concerns over so-called nicotine “vaping” by kids has Colorado considering age requirements for the nicotine devices popping up at marts and mall kiosks.

“We consider this either a quitting aid or a healthier way to smoke,” said Blair Roberts, a 22-year-old sales associate at Colorado E-Smokes. Like many in the e-cigarette business, Roberts welcomes a legal age restriction on e-cigarettes.

“Just like with regular cigarettes, nicotine is very harmful and addictive. This is not for children,” Roberts said.

Invented in China, electronic cigarettes are touted by users as a way to enjoy nicotine without smoke. A liquid nicotine solution is dropped into a vaporizer inside a device designed to look like a cigarette, cigar or pipe. Users inhale nicotine vapor and exhale what looks like smoke but has no odor.

E-cigarettes can be smoked in an office cubicle or an airplane restroom without triggering smoke alarms. Anecdotal evidence abounds from former smokers who insist e-cigarettes helped them kick the habit.

Legislation to impose an age requirement on sales has little opposition so far. The House approved a bill earlier this month, and the measure now awaits Senate action before heading to the governor.


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