According to the 2021 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, approximately 1 in 6 Jefferson County high school students report current use of e-cigarettes, which is higher than the national average. While cigarette smoking rates have decreased in recent years, the number of youth and adolescents using new forms of tobacco, such as e-cigarettes or vaping, has skyrocketed placing decades of progress at risk.
Last month, the Golden City Council took an important step toward putting the health of the community’s youth first by eliminating the sale of all flavored tobacco products in the city.
Tobacco use is a leading cause of preventable disease and death, and a major risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disease. Of the approximately 480,000 Americans who die from smoking each year, 35% of those deaths are from cardiovascular disease.
On July 25, the Golden City Council heard personal statements from concerned community members and health organizations about the dangers of flavored cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products have on youth and marginalized communities. In addition, Eric Heydorn, state government relations director and Rachelle Moulton, Denver division board of director member provided testimony about the positive impact this ordinance would have on the health and safety of Golden’s youth.
The American Heart Association worked with a coalition made up of 36 community health organizations to help pass the ordinance which received a 6-0 vote from the Golden City Council in favor of the ban, with one member absent.
With this ordinance, the City Council will also update their tobacco retail licensure to align with best practices of having public health professionals conduct checks on retailers. In addition, the new ordinance removes Purchase, Use, and Possession (PUP) laws for youth with tobacco which criminalize and punish youth for possessing, buying, and using tobacco products.
The new ordinance will go into effect starting on Jan. 1, 2024.