New proposed tobacco initiative would triple cigarette taxes in Colorado

Posted at 11:36 AM, Jul 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-07 13:52:14-04

A proposed constitutional amendment that could go before voters this fall would triple the taxes on a pack of cigarettes in Colorado, in the hopes of persuading more people never to start smoking.

The measure — currently dubbed Proposed Initiative 143 — would add an extra $1.75-per-pack tax to the 84 cents-per-pack tax that smokers in Colorado already pay. It would also increase taxes on other tobacco products such as cigars or chewing tobacco by 22 percent.

In total, the measure is expected to bring in $315 million in its first year, supporters say. Most of the money would go toward programs to help people stop smoking, research on tobacco-use-related diseases and campaigns to discourage kids from taking up smoking. But other chunks of money would fund programs for veterans’ health, programs that pay off the student loans of doctors who work in rural areas and programs that expand access to health care for kids and adults.

Jodi Radke, a regional director for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said a tax increase is “the No. 1 policy change we can put forth to impact youth use rates.” She said Colorado would become the 16th state with tobacco taxes of more than $2 per pack.

Read more from our partners at The Denver Post.