Bill will also allow better inspection on retailers that are selling nicotine to minors

(Feb. 1) – The House Health and Insurance committee approved a bill sponsored by Representative Kerry Tipper, D-Lakewood and Representative Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood to allow local governments to make their own decision regarding the licensing, taxation, and assessing fees of tobacco products.

“Local government can’t increase the cigarette tax. If they successfully tax cigarettes or even attempt to tax these items, they lose the shareback,” Rep. Tipper said. “It has a silencing effect. This bill gets rid of that shareback penalty.”

Currently, if a local entity chooses to license, assess a fee or tax nicotine products, they forgo their share of the cigarette tax revenue that exists under state law. This penalty is also assessed if a locality simply attempts a cigarette tax. HB19-1033 removes these financial penalties.

“The ultimate goal of this bill is allow local governments to license tobacco retailers to ensure they aren’t selling tobacco products to young people,” said Rep. Chris Kennedy. “Retailers need to do a better job of not selling to minors and we need to do a better job of revoking licenses of retailers who do sell to minors.

In January of this year, the American Lung Association released the State of Tobacco Control report and gave Colorado an “F” grade for its low taxes on nicotine products. Colorado tobacco taxes are lower than most other states. It also gave a “D” grade for Colorado’s funding for state tobacco prevention programs . The report found the state is spending only half the amount the Center for Disease Control recommends on prevention programs.

This bill passed the committee by 7-4 and now heads to the House floor.

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