Exclusives, Golden, Local, Uncategorized

Khan: Golden’s flavored nicotine ban gets youth vaping problem wrong

As the Golden City Council considers banning flavored nicotine products it would be wise for them to consider some important facts concerning this issue.

The major factor contributing to the increase in youth vaping is the accessibility of already illegal disposable vape products in kid-friendly flavors and youth-enticing packaging. These illegal disposable vapor products are flooding the market and driving youth use of vapor products.

Youth use of these illegal vapes increased at an alarming rate in the last couple of years, despite an overall 62% decline in overall youth e-cigarette use during that same time.

A ban on flavored tobacco products won’t stop the flow of these products.  Colorado needs to get serious about enforcement measures and clear store shelves of these illegal vapes.

Retailers have taken measures to prevent underage sales. The problem lies in the illegal market and unregulated foreign disposable vapes. Rather than a flavor ban, leaders should be addressing these illegal channels and not penalizing businesses like mine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) is a set of surveys that track behaviors that can lead to poor health in students grads 9 through 12.  According to the latest survey, daily use of youth cigarette use in Colorado is at historic lows – 0.6%.  This is for all types of cigarettes.  Menthol cigarette use among youth is about 0.2%.  Clearly, Colorado’s tobacco policies are working.  A flavor ban would only penalize legal adults.  “My body, my choice” should apply to an adult who wants to use a menthol cigarette.

A multifaceted approach is needed to target the sources of illegal disposable vape products, educate youth and parents to the dangers of these illegal products, and support responsible retailers. This will protect public health and not penalize responsible retailers who are committed to compliance.

Our kids deserve a healthy future without access to illegal disposable vapes.

Afjal Khan owns the Akshar Energy convenience store in Golden.  


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