The proposal passed unanimously in a meeting late Tuesday night and applies to all flavored nicotine or tobacco products, including vapes, cigarettes, cigars, and cigarillos.
The proposal was getting pushback from some retailers who hosted a news conference before the council meeting to express their opposition.
“I don’t know if I have to file a bankruptcy in 30 days,” said a retailer. “There are a lot of [other] retail stores. We are being criminalized and they’ll still be selling all their products. So what is the use of banning in a Golden? So are they punishing us? Are they punishing the retail stores and convenience stores within Golden?”
Supporters said the ban would line up with the city’s goals of preventing youth from starting use and reducing the number of tobacco-related health issues in the city.
Golden Mayor Laura Weinberg said the initial discussion began in 2019, but due to the pandemic in 2020, the conversation was delayed.
“The state failed to act, the federal government failed to act, so we’re back at the conversation here in 2023. That’s not to say that the discussion points and the conversations with the same business owners in 2019, that they aren’t important, that we don’t hear you, that your experience is invaluable. We understand that. I personally understand it. I also know that you all are entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are innovative, you are hardworking, you’re creative, and I really hope that there are resources that have been stated in the county with our economic development, with our organizations, but I can help you through this transition,” said Weinberg.
“It’s no secret my wife and I have a couple of kids and they’re making their way through their teens and early 20s. I want you to know that our family is not immune to dealing with the lure of flavored vaping and addiction struggles. My hope is that in the near future, we don’t have parents who have to face these struggles. I sympathize with all those who are going through struggles now. And for all those who have managed to avoid it, more power to you,” said Bill Fisher, a Golden City Council member.
However, many convenience store owners are against the idea. They said they already follow strict rules to prevent the sale of the products to minors and that a ban would significantly hurt their bottom lines.
“It is insulting to hear the city council say a flavor ban would protect the kids. I do not sell to the kids and neither do the other store owners. Kids are not getting this product from us. We are not the criminals. We love Golden and love being part of this community,” said one convenience store owner.
Some places in Colorado already have flavored nicotine bans in place but efforts to ban it statewide have been unsuccessful.
A nationwide proposal to ban menthol and other flavors is still pending with the Food and Drug Administration. That is expected to be finalized sometime later this year.
This local proposal will take effect for the city of Golden on Jan 1. 2024.