Healthier Colorado, Children’s Hospital and  Colorado Gov. Polis recently announced legislation that would refer a ballot issue to the voters in November 2019 to substantially increase tobacco taxes and create a tax on all nicotine products in Colorado. The bill was introduced and is assigned as HB19-1333.

Specifically, HB19-1333 would refer a ballot issue to the voters in November, 2019 that, if approved by the voters, would:

  • Increase the tax on cigarettes by $1.75 per pack.
  • Increase the tax on other tobacco products by 22%, to a total of 62% of listed manufacturer price.
  • Create a tax on nicotine (vaping) products to be equal to the tax on other tobacco products, at 62% of the listed manufacturer price.
  • Allocate the funds generated, estimated to be in excess of $300 million, equally between education and healthcare initiatives.
  • The education initiatives would include the expansion of preschool and out-of-school programs.
  • The healthcare initiatives would increase STEPP program funding to CDC recommended levels of about $52 million per year; protect the Prevention, Early Detection and Treatment (PEDT) fund, which funds the Cancer, Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Disease Grants Program (CCPD), Office of Health Equity Grants Program (OHE) and Women’s Wellness Connection Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (WWC), from a drop in revenue as tobacco use falls; lower healthcare costs, and allocate funds to a variety of behavioral health interventions for children and youth.What can grantees and Local Public Health Agencies do? 

    Local Public Health Agencies and organizations may engage in the legislative process on this bill just as they do with other legislative items, even if they are supported with A35 funds.  However, if the bill becomes a referred ballot initiative, A35 funds may not be used to encourage voters to take a position for or against the bill.

    Grantees can review the price strategy messaging information STEPP has provided to prepare for public discussions.

Source: Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment