Aspen City Council passes partial flavored nicotine ban
Drought classification dropped in Aspen
Aspen City Council agreed on Monday to lift Stage 2 water restrictions which had been in effect since last August when the region was experiencing extreme drought.
Because of an epic snow year and late spring storms, the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center predicts that flow in the Roaring Fork this runoff season will be between 110 and 130 percent of average.
As a result, there are no mandatory restrictions for Aspen customers concerning watering lawns or other uses.
The U.S. Drought Monitor currently shows no drought conditions in Pitkin County, according to Margaret Medellin, the city’s utilities portfolio manager.
Aspen City Council on Monday passed a ban on flavored electronic smoking devices, stopping short of a full prohibition of flavored tobacco products for failure of having a majority vote.
Deadlocked 2-2, with Councilwoman Ann Mullins absent, an ordinance banning all flavored tobacco products within city limits failed to pass.
An alternate ordinance introducing a partial ban singling out just flavored vape and e-cigarette products received full support from council with the understanding that it will come back June 10 for reconsideration to a full prohibition of both tobacco and electronic products.
Mayor Steve Skadron and Councilman Ward Hauenstein are in favor of the full ban and expect Mullins to vote the same, based on her previous comments.
Passing a full ban on flavored electronic and tobacco products will make Aspen one of a handful of cities in the country to do so, which sends a message of leadership in public health and safety.
“I like standing up and saying ‘no’ to the tobacco industry,” Skadron said, adding that if taking products that advertise to impressionable youth off the market helps save future generations, then so be it.
Hauenstein said it’s difficult to weigh such a complex issue, but in the end, a full ban is what’s best for the youth.
“Someone has to have to the political will to take a stand … it’s the greatest good for the community,” he said.
Councilman Bert Myrin said he has a hard time squaring why an individual over 21 years old can’t make their own decisions as long as it doesn’t harm others.
Councilman Adam Frisch said the conversation two years ago among elected officials centered around how to protect area youth, which yielded a change in the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21, as well as a $3 additional tax on nicotine sales.
Going for a full flavored ban, including tobacco, is not much different than starting to regulate alcohol products, Frisch noted.
Several public health officials and youth advocates spoke in front of council in favor of the full ban because it offers a stronger model for other communities to implement.
June 10 is the last meeting for the current council. A new one will be sworn in. Skadron and Frisch are leaving due to term limits; Myrin lost his bid for a second term in the March election.
Last Friday, the Aspen Art Museum capped its second annual ArtWeek with a big fundraiser. The proceeds will help fund art education and accessibility for the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond.
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