Golden City Council votes to ban all flavored tobacco and nicotine sales

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Nicotine products for sale at a City Park West convenience store in Denver, Sept. 30, 2019.

Golden City Council voted Tuesday to ban flavored tobacco and nicotine products, including vapes, cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos, from being sold within city limits. 

Councilmembers introduced the ordinance earlier this month with the goal of curbing nicotine addiction among young people. 

“Perhaps most importantly, the community impact would align with the stated goals of preventing youth from starting use, reducing tobacco related health disparities and increasing support for users interested in cessation or quitting,” said a memorandum from Golden City Manager Scott Vargo

Several people wrote into or attended Tuesday’s council meeting to express support or share concerns about the proposed ban. Representatives for convenience store chains and local businesses, like Chris Everson, who represented Circle K, said this will unfairly impact consumers.

“What you're looking at here is a total ban on a product of choice of somebody who wants to use a product over-age,” Everson said.

Eighth grader Harper Pagnozzi spoke in favor of the ban. She said she has watched kids use vapes in school bathrooms. 

“You have the chance to change that,” Pagnozzi said. “You have the chance to stand up for me and hundreds of other kids in my school. You have the chance to tell the vape industry that the future of our kids in Golden is not for sale.”

Various health organizations also sent representatives to voice support for the ban and to urge councilmembers not to compromise. 

“Allowing for over 21 stores to continue selling flavored tobacco products will only water down the impact of this policy, and it would maintain the top source of accessibility for kids, which is just having someone over 21 buy it for them,” Eric Heydorn, who represented the American Heart Association, said. 

City Council voted 6-0 in favor of the ban, with one member absent. Mayor Laura Weinberg said the council felt a call to action due to lack of progress at the state level.

“At the time, we thought we had support at the state level,” she said. “The state chose not to act, and said it’s up to the locals.”

Councilor Bill Fisher acknowledged the concerns of business owners, but he said a similar ban in Glenwood Springs didn’t result in any business closures. 

“We can do better than selling harmful products. We don’t have to be in that business,” he said. “I think we are creating an environment here where businesses are thriving without having to sell harmful products.”

Golden’s new flavored nicotine ban will go into effect January 1, 2024.