Voters in Aspen, Colo. overwhelmingly supported an increase in the tobacco tax at the polls on Tuesday, with nearly 74.5 percent of the electorate voting in favor of a 40 percent tax on the wholesale price of tobacco products other than cigarettes, while the price of a pack of cigarettes will increase by $3, with 10 cent increases for the next 10 years.
Over the summer, the city council had been presented with the proposal, ultimately deciding to send the question to voters after resolving the specific increases and schedule in which they would be implemented.
The increase will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, with officials projecting revenue upwards of $325,000 in the first year of implementation.
Colorado currently has a statewide tax of 40 percent of the wholesale price on other tobacco products and 84 cents per pack on cigarettes, and with this increase Aspen will have some of the priciest tobacco in the state.
The increase comes on the heels of the council approving an increase to the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, raising it to 21-years-old, a change that will also go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018 and will make Aspen the first city in Colorado to enact such an increase. As part of that increase, the city stands to lose upwards of $75,000 in tax revenue, something the tax increase would help to recoup.
Aspen is home to approximately 7,000 residents.