Voters in Colorado appear to have rejected an increase to the state’s tobacco tax, defeating Amendment 72 with 53% of the ballots cast in opposition after 62% of the vote had been counted.
Amendment 72 sought to raise the tax on cigars and other tobacco products except for cigarettes from 40 percent of the wholesale price to 62 percent. For a cigar with an MSRP of $9.50, the pre-sales tax price at the register would jump from $13.30 to $15.39 by halfwheel estimates.
The tax on a pack of cigarettes would have increased from $0.84 to $2.59. The group Campaign for a Healthy Colorado said that the tax increase would bring in approximately $315 million to the state every year, with that money divided up between Colorado-based research to prevent and improve treatments for cancer, heart and lung disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and youth mental health; tobacco education, prevention, and cessation programs for Colorado youth and adults; medical and mental health care for 500,000 Colorado veterans; increased access to health care in rural and underserved areas; training and repayment student debt for medical professionals in rural and underserved areas; and $34 million to expand access to youth mental health services.