Glenwood to discuss vaping regulation
City Council may take a closer look at laws concerning the sale of tobacco products within Glenwood Springs’ city limits in the near future.
Recently, councilors heard from public health officials about potential point-of-sale tobacco pricing policies as well as tobacco retailer licensing requirements.
Pricing policies include a minimum price for all tobacco products and the prohibition of tobacco coupons, discounts and promotions. Additionally, a tobacco retailer license would act in many ways like the license needed to sell alcohol.
“We decided that we needed to get informed about what our role is and where we stand on things,” Mayor Jonathan Godes said.
The city at this time has not approved or even formally considered any new pricing policies or tobacco retailer licensing requirements.
“We have seen the proliferation of other communities addressing this,” Godes said of neighboring municipalities like Aspen, Basalt, Carbondale and Snowmass.
“We have heard from other communities that Glenwood Springs is the town where kids are going now to buy these [tobacco] products,” Godes added.
Eighteen-year-olds may still purchase tobacco, including vaping products, in Glenwood Springs.
According to the nonprofit organization ChangeLab Solutions, “strong tobacco pricing policies” improve public health by reducing income-based disparities in smoking rates, encouraging and facilitating tobacco users to quit, and discouraging youth initiation altogether.
“I don’t think anybody in Glenwood wants to be known as the place where kids go to pick up their vape products,” Godes said. “That’s not something we want to be known for.”
ChangeLab Solutions also maintains that tobacco retailer licensing laws can “help counter the tobacco industry’s predatory practices that disproportionally target youth; facilitate comprehensive enforcement of federal, state and local tobacco laws; and ensure that inspections and compliance checks occur in all the stores in the community.”
City Council has instructed staff to prepare a formal presentation with suggestions concerning tobacco sales and use in Glenwood Springs for consideration at a future council meeting.
According to Godes, following Aspen City Council’s vote to ban flavored nicotine products, the Glenwood Springs mayor said he was contacted by a gentleman lobbying about, ‘How great vaping was for people who were addicted to cigarettes.’
“As a father first and as a mayor second…this is a huge concern for me,” Godes said, calling vaping a crisis in the community. “Glenwood Springs really needs to take a hard look at this and make some suggestions on how we can help really protect our youth. …That is what we are doing.”
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Garfield County does not have a detox facility. A recently formed task force hopes to change that.