DENVER (AP) - Legislation to ban all flavored vaping and nicotine products was amended to allow most vape shops to continue selling products such as menthol cigarettes, which account for more than 20% of cigarette sales in Colorado. Grocery and convenience stores would remain banned.
Analysts estimate the original version of the bill would have reduced state tax revenues by nearly $40 million, the Colorado Sun reported. That money goes to health care programs, which will likely need to find funding elsewhere or impose cuts to other initiatives, analysts said.
“The impact to tax revenue was going to be really considerable,” said Democrat state Rep. Yadira Caraveo, who is leading the push for the measure.
The House Health and Insurance Committee voted 7-3 to pass the bill Tuesday. If passed by the state Legislature and signed by Gov. Jared Polis, the bill would go into effect Sept. 1.
“I think we’re much more confident about this option compared to others because it keeps these businesses open while still trying to address youth use,” Caraveo said. She added that some Democratic lawmakers have expressed concern about how the measure would affect small-business owners.
Grier Bailey, who leads the Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, opposed the bill, saying it would bring economic hardship for the thousands of store owners he represents.
“They’re basically saying that because kids are attracted to vaping flavors, Skittles and cotton candy, the industry has to lose all sales of flavored products,” he said. “The state is coming in and basically taking away the opportunity to sell products that adults may want.”
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