Colorado Voters Favoring Tobacco Taxes In Boulder, Summit And Eagle Counties And More

Daniel Brenner
DENVER, COLORADO – OCTOBER 3: Co-owner Shanna Finch vapes outside her shop Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019 at Denver Vapor. Finch supports limiting tobaccos products to those 21 years and older and believes it should be federally regulated. “I don’t want to lose all flavors because it helped me quit smoking,” she said. “We need more public awareness”. Photo by Daniel Brenner for CPR News

Voters in several Colorado municipalities are largely approving adding a tax hike to tobacco products, according to preliminary election results from Colorado's Secretary of the State's office.

Preliminary results show voters favoring tax hikes in Summit, Pitkin and Eagle counties along with the city of Boulder, Crested Butte, New Castle, Vail and Glenwood Springs.

Boulder's measure would set a 40 percent sales tax on vaping products and has 81 percent voting yes in early returns.

Similar measures elsewhere would add up to a 40 percent sales tax on tobacco products like vape cartridges or chew. Some places would also have an additional tax per pack of cigarettes.

Proponents of these measures have said the tax increases would curb teen vaping. 

“We know that young people are very sensitive to price increases in tobacco and nicotine products, so this tax is one of the most effective tools available to us to prevent youth use," Summit County Commissioner Thomas Davidson said in a news release. “Our community is putting its foot down and saying that we are not OK with our children getting hooked on these products that are disastrous for their health."

Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, a non-profit that advocates for vaping products, said most teens who vape are in the upper- to middle-class and wouldn’t be affected by price increases. 

“The type of young person today who is experimenting with nicotine vaping products is very different from the crowd that was heavily experimenting with cigarettes in past years,” he said. “When you have teens from high economic backgrounds, taxes on nicotine vaping products are unlikely to deter behavior.”

Similar measures have been passed in Aurora, Aspen, Avon and Basalt. 

This is a developing story and will be updated.