Yesterday, the Boulder City Council gave its initial support to a trio of anti-tobacco measures, including one that could make the Colorado city the most expensisve place to buy a cigar in America.
The Boulder City Council passed a first reading of a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products in the city as well as increasing the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21, a second reading is scheduled for Aug. 13.
Retailers caught violating the new purchasing age law would be subject to penalties up to $5,000.
It also began evaluating one of two potential tax increases for tobacco products which would be voted on by Boulder citizens. One would add a tax on cigarettes of 15 cents per cigarette and a 40 percent on all other tobacco products including cigars. Another measure would exempt cigarettes and just add the 40 percent tax on for other products.
Unlike most taxes, which are applied to the wholesale price, the 40 percent tax would be applied to the sales price.
Colorado already has a 40 percent wholesale tax on cigars, meaning that a cigar that has an MSRP of $9.50 likely retails for around $13.30 in the state. The proposed tax—40 percent on the $13.30—would increase that price to $18.62. In addition, that same cigar would be subject to an additional $1.18 worth of sales tax in Boulder, bringing the final price of that $9.50 cigar to $19.80.
It would make Boulder one of, if not the most expensive place to purchase a cigar in the U.S. Currently, that title is likely held by Utah which has an 86 percent tax on cigars and a 4.85 percent sales tax, meaning that same $9.50 cigar likely retails for $18.53.
While the Boulder City Council could approve the ban on flavored tobacco products or the increase tobacco purchasing age, voters will get to decide the potential tax increase in November. The City Council will get to decide which version of the increase makes the ballot.
The Boulder area is home to roughly 300,000 citizens and the University of Colorado Boulder.