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Denver is being recognized as one of the country’s 40 largest cities to have adopted policies that improve people’s quality of life, well-being and health, according to a new report by CityHealth, an initiative of the de Beaumont Foundation and Kaiser Permanente.

For the last three years, CityHealth has published an annual report evaluating U.S. cities on the number and power of their policies that show a commitment to healthy communities using gold, silver and bronze medals.

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Denver, along with five other cities, saw promotions to “Silver Medal” status in the latest report. The upgrade comes in the wake of a bill signed into law by Mayor Michael Hancock in October that boosted the tobacco product purchasing age from 18 to 21.  

The city was assigned “Gold Medal” status in the areas of Tobacco 21, Smoke-Free Indoor Air and Safe Alcohol Sales. Denver joins at least 18 states and more than 500 other U.S. cities and towns — including at least eight in Colorado — that have raised the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21, according to the national nonprofit Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

“By focusing on policies that improve equity, well-being, and quality of life, we are building resiliency in our communities and contributing to healthier lives,” Hancock said in a statement. “I am proud that CityHealth is recognizing Denver for our thoughtful policy work.”

The city also silver medal status in the areas of Complete Streets and Healthy Food Procurement, and bronze medal status in affordable housing and high quality, accessible pre-kindergarten.

“CityHealth’s goal is that all city leaders will use this assessment as a tool to work together and move toward the gold standard for each policy,” the report stated. “CityHealth provides these data as an accountability framework and gives residents, policy-makers and community leaders the tools to drive health improvements in their cities.”

“We are proud to have made such remarkable progress as a health-positive city,” said Robert McDonald, executive director of the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment. “While we have made significant strides, we acknowledge that the work must continue to give every resident an equitable chance for a healthier, more vibrant life.”

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