Item No. 1 - Vaping/Tobacco Ordinance Update

Staff has returned with a proposed regulation incorporating both previous Council direction and the requirements put forth by HB20-1001. Staff recommends the preparation of an ordinance to create regulations for tobacco retailer licensing.

This is a recording of the November 16, 2020 City Council Study Session. 


Staff Memo ( 1.81 MB )

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Online comments closed at 11:00 AM MST 11/16/20.
Mayor Starker and City Council Members: I’m Lorrie Odom, a Wheat Ridge resident for over 44 years, retired pediatrician, co-chair of the Tobacco Free Jeffco Alliance and Chair of Health, Wellness, and Safety for Jeffco PTA. Thank you for this opportunity to revisit an ordinance establishing local tobacco retail licensing in Wheat Ridge and increasing the age of tobacco sales to 21. 2019 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey data show that more than one in four youth under 19 years of age in Jefferson County are currently vaping, and more than three in four saw ads for vape products in the prior 30 days. Several studies show that youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to become lifelong smokers, with a recent study reporting that even adolescents who had no previous intention of smoking were four times more likely to begin using conventional cigarettes after vaping. Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Nearly 95% of adult smokers started smoking before age 21. It’s known that brain development continues until at least age 25 and that the developing brain is particularly vulnerable to the detrimental effects of psychoactive drugs. In addition to the significantly increased risk of addiction, adolescent use of nicotine can lead to problems with attention, learning, and memory that can become long-term or even permanent, as well as an increased risk of addiction to other psychoactive substances. A 2019 study found that teens and young adults with a history of regular nicotine e-cigarette use were 3.5 times more likely to start using marijuana than their peers who never vaped. Studies also show that nicotine, toxins, carcinogens, and other components of e-cigarette aerosol can cause irreversible lung damage. Of great concern is recent data showing that smoking or vaping leads to an increased risk of severe illness with COVID-19. Research also shows that more tobacco retailers exist in areas with larger black, Hispanic, and low-income residents and more stores sell tobacco products to underage customers in these locations. In addition to the JUUL, an extremely popular and discreet vaping device, there is now an array of similar disposable devices flooding the market, such as the Puff Bar, that also come in a variety of flavors that are very appealing to youth. We recognize that efforts to prevent youth use of e-cigarettes must be approached comprehensively - with efforts by parents, guardians, trusted adults, education in our schools and community - and licensing of all tobacco retail establishments, allowing for enforcement of the measures you deem appropriate for Wheat Ridge. Again, thank you for your consideration of this ordinance that is so important for the youth of our thriving community as well as a consequential equity and social justice issue. References: U.S. Surgeon General. Surgeon General’s Advisory on E-cigarette Use Among Youth. 2018
November 16, 2020, 10:18 AM
Lorrie F. Odom
Thank you for your consideration of this ordinance. Requiring tobacco retail licensing is an effective policy to help eliminate a critical point of access to tobacco, reduce youth use, and prevent the potential of lifetime addiction. Unlike alcohol, or recreational marijuana, we don’t yet know who is selling tobacco in our city, which means we don’t know who is illegally selling these products to our kids and cannot consistently hold retailers accountable. Adopting tobacco retail licensure ensures a comprehensive list of all retailers in Wheat Ridge and a consistent set of practices among all businesses that choose and are privileged to sell tobacco products. Retailers that participate in a licensure process are less likely to have violations for selling to minors compared to businesses without a process. Amidst a respiratory disease pandemic and the tobacco industry’s continued targeting of marginalized groups, tobacco control and prevention are more important than ever. I urge you to include a licensing fee that will adequately pay for effective enforcement efforts, require new tobacco retailers to be at least 1000 feet from a school, establish stiff penalties for selling without a license.
November 13, 2020, 1:59 PM
Lynnette Namba
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