A strong majority of Denver voters support a city-wide ordinance to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products that appeal to youth, according to a survey by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association and Kaiser Permanente.
Nearly two-thirds (65%) of the survey respondents support an ordinance to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products in the City of Denver, which includes fruit and candy-flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine vaping products, menthol-flavored cigarettes and flavored cigars. Majority support for the ordinance is seen across all key demographic groups, including political parties, ethnicities and in every district of the city.
The three organizations commissioned the survey to understand voters' perceptions of tobacco consumption and support for the ordinance currently under consideration by the Denver City Council. Eight out of 10 youth who have used tobacco started with a flavored product, and about half of youth smokers use menthol cigarettes.
“We’re seeing more and more cities and states across the country take bold action to end the sale of flavored products, and as the largest city in Colorado, it’s time for Denver to prioritize the health of our kids over tobacco industry profits,” said Jodi Radke, Advocacy Director for the Rocky Mountain/Great Plains Region, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “The tobacco industry has a long history of luring and addicting youth and minority communities with flavored products. The only real solution is to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products — all flavors, all products, all locations — and it’s clear Denver voters agree.”
Denver voters have real concerns about the risks associated with e-cigarette use and how flavored products are marketed by the tobacco industry to hook kids:
●86% are concerned that e-cigarettes expose kids to high levels of nicotine;
●82% of Denver voters are concerned that flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes are popular among Black youth. 86% of Black voters are concerned and 84% of Hispanic voters are concerned about this fact;
●81% of Denver voters are concerned that tobacco and vaping companies target kids with flavored products and Hispanic youth are more likely to use e-cigarettes in Colorado and cite flavors as the reason for their use, 83% of Black voters and 81% of Hispanic voters concerned; and
●80% are concerned that flavored tobacco is a starter product.
“Flavored tobacco and tobacco products pose serious risks to the health of young people. As a long-time pediatrician, I see first-hand how these dangerous products addict children early and for a lifetime. Reducing access to these products is critical to preventing addiction into adulthood, disease burden, and premature death,” said Margaret Ferguson, MD, president and executive medical director of the Colorado Permanente Medical Group which provides care to the more than 600,000 members of Kaiser Permanente in Colorado.
“Amidst a respiratory disease pandemic and the tobacco industry’s continued targeting of groups who have historically been marginalized, tobacco control and prevention are more important than ever. Denver led on tobacco retail licensing and raising the minimum sales age to 21, and we call on the city to once again lead by ending the sale of flavored tobacco products once and for all, to best protect our kids and our future,” said Naomi Amaha-Gollnick, Vice President of Health Strategies, Colorado for The American Heart Association.
The poll was conducted October 21 through November 1, 2020, among a sample of 686 active voters, with an oversample of 100 Black/African American respondents and 200 Hispanic/Latinx respondents, 100 of whom completed the survey in Spanish. Keating Research conducted the survey, in consultation with Latino pollsters Matt Barreto and Gabriel Sanchez.