The Montrose City Council is deliberating on whether to change the municipal code that prohibits the use of underage vaping in the public in hopes of curving a high number of teenage usage found in Montrose County School District students.
The thought is also to prevent local children from becoming addicted to nicotine.
During the Nov. 19 work session, councilors, staff and MCSD social worker Mary Boyers discussed changing the city code.
“(Montrose is) very much in the midst of a crisis with our teenagers and their use of substances which are dangerous to them," Boyers said in a press release.
The language in the proposed ordinance states vaping in smoke-free locations “threatens to reverse the progress” of limiting tobaccoless areas.
"What we are saying is, where you can’t smoke, you can’t vape," said City Attorney Stephen Alcorn in a press release. "Where adults may smoke, adults may vape."
A recent survey conducted across 37 states showed Colorado middle and high schoolers vape at a higher rate than those in any other state in the survey, as previously reported. Additionally, Colorado’s Region 10, which encompasses Montrose, Delta, Hinsdale, Ouray and San Miguel counties, had the largest amount of vape use in the state.
The Montrose County School District has been able to read teenagers’ own thoughts on vaping through the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey results.
The survey questioned around 56,000 students from roughly 200 randomly selected middle and high schools statewide.
According to the survey, which came out earlier this year, 41.7 percent of local high schoolers have used an electronic vapor product one or more days in the past month; the region is reported a 38.5 percent, while 27 percent is the number for the state, as previously reported.
Only 39.5 percent of district high schoolers say they think people who use electronic vapor products every day have a moderate or great risk of harm. The region reported 46.7 percent of students as believing there is a risk of harm. Meanwhile, 49.8 percent of students in the state indicate they believe can be damaging.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, vaping has serious health effects, which can lead to brain and lung disease and/or cancer.
A community meeting is scheduled Jan. 17, hosted by the MCSD, which will discuss vaping.
The passage of the ordinance could possibly come the following month. There’s a preliminary deadline line of 60 days after the passage to give residents some time to prepare for the change.
For more information about the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, visit www.colorado.gov/cdphe/hkcs