By Mekialaya White

DENVER (CBS4) — It was a packed house at the Denver City Council meeting on Wednesday morning to debate a new initiative that would ban flavored tobacco and vape juices.

“The surgeon general has declared an epidemic of youth vaping,” Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer told a crowd. She is co-sponsoring the initiative with Councilwoman Debbie Ortega. It’s aimed to target youth vaping specifically.

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Ellen Penrod, Executive Director of American Lung Association in Colorado, is in support of the proposal.

(credit: CBS)

“I hope council does the right thing and passes the ban,” she told CBS4’s Mekialaya White. “We know that flavors are the number one way that companies addict kids with nicotine. They start with a vanilla flavor, and maybe they don’t like it. But then someone says ‘oh, I’ve got a mango flavor, oh I’ve got crème brûlée,’ and this increases the time that they’re exposed to the nicotine, and it’s highly addictive.”

Penrod says the harmful impacts speak for themselves. “It’s not just water vapor it is chemicals, you are breathing in chemicals into your body and we don’t know what’s in a lot of these vapes.”

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Philip Guerin has owned smoke shop Myxed Up Creations for nearly 30 years, and passionately disagrees with a potential ban.

“Nobody advocates for children smoking. Nobody,” he said. He says he has strict guidelines, and customers must be of age to buy and enjoy flavored tobacco from his business. He also advocates for stricter parenting.

“With good parenting, with the schools enforcing the restrictions that are already in place, this would go away,” he said.

The impact on his business would be detrimental.

“Especially since it is good to retain good help since the pandemic, this would have a tremendous negative impact on what we’re trying to do here.”

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The next discussion on the ban is scheduled for Oct. 27.

Mekialaya White