A unanimous vote — sort of — for a new kind of smoking ban

 

Voters took advantage of a new state law on Tuesday by approving local taxes on cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco products in multiple jurisdictions.

The city of Boulder will now have a 40% tax on vape products. A 40% tax on other tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, passed in Crested Butte, Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Vail, and Eagle, Summit, and Pitkin counties. Local taxes on cigarettes will range between $3 and $4 per pack.

“It is now time for the state legislature to follow the lead of communities across Colorado to raise the legal age of sale of these products to 21, ban the sale of flavored products designed to appeal to children and support a measure on next year’s ballot to raise taxes on nicotine products,” said Jake Williams, the executive director of Healthier Colorado, in a statement.

Prior to this year, local governments were ineligible for their share of the state’s cigarette tax revenue if they instituted their own fee, license or tax on cigarettes — or if they even attempted to. House Bill 19-1033 partially repealed that prohibition, and now only successfully-implemented cigarette taxes that raise money locally will cut a jurisdiction out of the state’s allocation. The bill also gave localities other powers to regulate tobacco and nicotine products above the state’s own requirements.

Aspen, Avon, Basalt, and Edgewater already taxed or regulated cigarettes and were not party to the state’s nearly $10 million allocation to local jurisdictions.

The move to tax vape products comes in the middle of a nationwide outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment noted nine hospitalizations as of Nov. 6, and a recent lawsuit by a Colorado man against vape manufacturer JUUL alleges negligence and fraudulent marketing of its products to adolescents.

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