Bill to Ask Voters to Raise Tobacco Tax and Put Funding Toward Early Childhood Education and Health Care Passes Committee

Nicotine smoking costs the state $1.89 billion annually in health care costs

(Apr. 26) – The House Finance committee approved Rep. Yadira Caraveo’s bill that would give voters the choice to raise taxes on tobacco products, including a new tax on liquid nicotine used for vaping. There is currently no tax on liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes. If approved by voters, the referred measure would raise more than $300 million, half of which would go toward early childhood education and half to health care.

“Colorado values the health of all our children but sadly we rank first in the country for teen vaping. As a pediatrician, I understand the negative consequences nicotine has on brain development and the health of our young people,” said Rep. Caraveo, D-Thornton.

“This measure will help decrease smoking and increase funding for early childhood education and health care.”

Rep. Caraveo is the only medical doctor in the legislature.

Numerous economic studies in peer-reviewed journals have documented that cigarette tax or price increases reduce both adult and underage smoking. In Colorado, 33 percent of students use tobacco products and 26 percent of high school students use e-cigarettes, which is twice the national average for teen vaping. One vaping cartridge contains the nicotine of a pack of cigarettes. Colorado’s current tobacco tax rate on cigarettes is one of the lowest rates in the country. The average state tobacco tax is $1.79 a pack. Colorado’s tax today is 84 cents a pack.  

HB19-1333 passed by a vote of 6-5. It now heads to the House Appropriations committee.

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