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Pitkin County, Colo. Voters Could Increase Tobacco Tax

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Voters in another Colorado municipality will be asked whether they support a tobacco tax increase when they get their ballots this fall.

This time, it’s Pitkin County, and the proposal calls for a $3.20 per pack increase on cigarettes and an additional tax of 40 percent of the wholesale price on other tobacco products such as cigars and electronic smoking devices. Additionally, the cigarette tax would go up 10 cents per year after that initial increase, which if approved would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

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The Pitkin County Commissioners approved the ballot measure at their work session on Tuesday, directing city staff to draft the text for review and an initial vote at their Aug. 14 meeting. It would still need a second reading and vote, which could happen as early as Aug. 28.

The increase would only apply to tobacco retailers in the unincorporated parts of the county, which AspenDailyNews.com reports means about 10 retailers. Voters in Aspen, which lies within Pitkin County, approved a similar increase in 2017.

Voters in Crested Butte, which lies just to the south of Pitkin County, will have a similar question on their ballots as well, with more cities and counties likely to consider such increases after a change in state law allowed municipalities to have more say in tobacco sales, as opposed to being beholden to state laws.

Pitkin County is home to approximately 18,000 residents.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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