Denver City Council Fails to Override Mayor’s Veto of Flavored Tobacco Bill, Protect Kids from Big Tobacco’s Predatory Practices

December 13, 2021

Today, the Denver City Council voted 8-4 against overriding Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s veto of a bill aimed at significantly curbing the sale of flavored tobacco products.  The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is disappointed in the decision to prioritize Big Tobacco’s interests and bottom line over children’s health and lives.

The following is a statement from ACS CAN Colorado and Wyoming Government Relations Director R.J. Ours:

“The Denver City Council this evening had a critical opportunity to overturn Mayor Hancock’s veto of this important youth prevention legislation and address this public health crisis but decided against it. On behalf of all of us at ACS CAN, thank you to the bill’s sponsors and other supporters on Council.  We are deeply disappointed with the mayor and those on Council who remain unconvinced that supporting this bill would positively impact Denver’s youth and future public health.

“Cancer is the leading cause of death in Colorado, killing an estimated 8,420 people in 2021. Smoking increases the risk of at least a dozen types of cancer including lung, colorectal, kidney, liver and pancreatic cancer.

“Ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products is a critical step to reduce youth tobacco use and can help reverse longstanding health inequities. Menthol, other candy- and fruit-flavored tobacco products are a key part of the tobacco industry’s strategy to entice our youth into a potential lifetime of addiction. Research shows that flavors have driven the unprecedented increase in youth tobacco uptake, with 81% of kids who have ever tried tobacco starting with a flavored product.

“Big Tobacco also has a long history of targeting lower-income, communities of color and LGBTQ+ communities, which has led to a disproportionate cancer burden. For example, Blacks still have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial group in the U.S. for most cancers; and Black men have the highest cancer incidence rate.

“While disappointed, ACS CAN volunteers remain committed to continue working with our elected leaders throughout Colorado to reduce the suffering and death caused by cancer through tobacco control and other proven cancer-fighting policies in our communities.”

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Priscilla Cabral-Perez
Sr. Regional Media Advocacy Manager