Carbondale may join Glenwood, Aspen in flavored tobacco product ban
The town of Carbondale is considering a ban on flavored nicotine products, including menthol cigarettes and e-cigarettes, to combat teen vaping.
Like the ordinance passed in Glenwood Springs earlier this month, Carbondale’s proposed ordinance would also compel retailers to apply for a license to sell tobacco products. Aspen’s ban on flavored nicotine products goes into effect in January.
“I understand that vaping, so far, has proven to be a viable alternative for smokers, but it’s also proven to be an epidemic for our youth,” Carbondale Mayor Dan Richardson said when Glenwood Springs approved the flavor ban.
The Carbondale Board of Trustees will consider the ordinance at its next regular Tuesday meeting, on Aug. 27.
Carbondale and the Roaring Fork Re-1 School District generally are hotspots for teenage use of e-cigarettes, or vaporized nicotine consumption, with higher rates of vaping than the rest of the state, according to 2017 research.
Last year, Carbondale raised the minimum purchasing age for tobacco to 21, and imposed fines on the clerks and stores who sell to underage persons on the first offense.
The new flavor ban includes menthol cigarettes, which studies have linked to youth smoking, and flavored chewing tobacco. Half of all smokers between the ages of 12 and 17 use menthol cigarettes, or mint e-cigarettes, according to 2016 survey from the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
Young people who start with menthol are 80 percent more likely to become regular smokers, according to Pitkin County Health, and 85 percent of teen nicotine users use cigarettes.
The larger majority of teen tobacco users, 89 percent, reported using hookah, according to Pitkin County Health.
Not included in Carbondale’s flavor ban are products “specifically approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in reducing, treating or eliminating nicotine or tobacco dependence.”
Marijuana e-liquids are not included in the flavor ban.
Carbondale has 10 stores that sell products containing nicotine, and not all of those sell e-cigarettes. The town took action against four stores that sold tobacco to persons under 21 during a sting conducted last November.
The FDA issued a warning letter to the 7-Eleven on Highway 133 in August 2018 for selling liquid containing nicotine to a minor, but the store hasn’t had any federal violations since.
The flavor ban is one of four recommendations RFSD superintendent Rob Stein made in a recent column.
Stein said he asked leaders to raise the purchasing age to 21, ban flavored tobacco, license and inspect stores, and raise prices on tobacco.
“If we make tobacco products less appealing and accessible, we will see fewer youth starting the habit to begin with,” he said. “There are far more children learning to use tobacco through vaping than there are adults using vaping in an effort to quit tobacco.”
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