(Feb. 6) – The House passed a bill today 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 of fees for tobacco products.
“We should restore local control and give communities the tools they need to address the epidemic of teen vaping head on,” said Rep. Tipper. “Colorado leads the nation in teen vaping. This is the canary in the coal mine. If we don’t do something now, we will have a generation of folks to answer to.”
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 like traditional and e-cigarettes.
“The ultimate goal of this bill is to acknowledge the teen vaping epidemic. Twenty-six percent of high school student use e-cigs, which is the highest in nation,” said Rep. Kennedy. “Teens using e-cigs make them six times more likely to smoke actual cigarettes in their lives, which we know is a major health risk.”
Colorado tobacco taxes are lower than most other states. The American Lung Association 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.
HB19-1033 passed the House floor by a vote of 38-26. The bill now heads to the Senate.