Students tend to start using tobacco with products like candy-flavored vape juice, menthol cigarettes, and fruity e-cigarettes. The superintendent of Denver Public Schools is calling on his district’s community members to support a statewide ban on those products to protect Colorado teens.
“More than one in four high school students in Colorado report using e-cigarettes, and eight out of every 10 youth who have ever tried tobacco started with a flavored product,” Superintendent Alex Marrero wrote in an open letter.
Communities of color are at heightened risk, he continued, since storefronts and products are often designed to attract Black and Hispanic youth. The bill’s sponsors also point out that teens from those communities are more likely to use e-cigarettes than white teens and said they believe the ban will help reduce smoking-related health disparities in communities of color.
A House committee voted to approve the bill with amendments after hearing hours of testimony. DPS’ superintendent and speakers from other education organizations, such as the Colorado League of Charter Schools, Colorado Association of School Boards and the Colorado Education Association, spoke in favor of the bill.