Beginning July 1, 1998 the Liquor Enforcement Division received tobacco enforcement duties. Federal mandate requires each state to have a tobacco enforcement program and a designated enforcement agency. States that do not have a program in place are in jeopardy of losing federal substance abuse and treatment grants. For Colorado, approximately 8 million dollars, annually, is at risk.
The Division coordinates its enforcement activities with the Colorado Departments of Human Services and Health. The Division responds to complaints about tobacco sales to minors and conducts unannounced retailer compliance checks (stings) to determine retailer compliance.
The Division conducts approximately 3,200 tobacco retailer compliance checks. Retailers who sell to minors during a compliance check will be issued a warning and targeted for future compliance checks. If continuing violations occur, a retailer can receive administrative fines ranging from $250 to $15,000.
On an annual basis the Division will work with the Department of Human Services to develop a federal report concerning the effectiveness of Colorado's enforcement program. Federal mandates require Colorado to achieve and maintain an 80% retailer compliance rate to avoid endangering federal grant monies. Colorado's current compliance rate ranges from 92-96%.