DENVER (CBS4)– Denver Mayor Michael Hancock vetoed a measure by the Denver City Council that would have banned flavored tobacco products in the city.
“I’ve never been interested in symbolic legislation,” said Hancock.
He says the ban was just that, “This not stop kids from walking across the street to Glendale, Aurora, Lakewood to procure the product.”
It would, however, close small businesses, he says, and cost jobs and tax revenue.
Philip Guerin, owner of Myxed Up Creations, among more than 100 owners of small vape shops that fought the ban, “We would experience a 30% loss in business.”
The vape store owners too, are concerned about kids vaping and support licensing, marketing bans and age restrictions, but banning flavors they say will only increase cigarette use.
“We can now move forward and find a real solution to stop kids from vaping,” says Guerin.
Denver raised the age to buy tobacco to 21 and licensed stores that sell tobacco products. The mayor says he supports even stricter regulations and increased enforcement of existing regulations, but he says a ban only works if it’s done statewide.
Hancock says he’s already talking to Gov. Jared Polis, “We’re going to continue to look at it and do some things that I think will be even smarter going forward.”
Denver City Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer, a sponsor of the bill, says it could have led to a statewide ban, “Oftentimes what we see is, ‘As Denver goes, so goes the state.'”
She admits it would have had an economic impact, “The majority of the council decided that putting public health first, addressing what the Surgeon General has called an epidemic was a more important choice.”
She’s hoping to override the veto. She’ll need to flip one of the three no votes to do so.
“There are options moving forward and we’ll continue to pursue them,” said Sawyer.
Children’s Hospital Colorado released a statement expressing disappointment, “Youth vaping and cigarette use in Colorado is higher than the nation as a whole and… we have treated thousands of children for preventable respiratory conditions as a result. It is time for solutions.”
The vote on whether to override the veto is set for Monday.