Colorado voters to decide on ballot measure that could triple cigarette tax

August 22, 2016 Updated: August 22, 2016 at 7:10 pm
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photo - FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2012 file photo, packs of cigarettes are seen on display at a news stand in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2012 file photo, packs of cigarettes are seen on display at a news stand in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File) 

Voters will decide whether to implement a large bump in the state's tobacco tax after the Secretary of State's Office confirmed Monday that a group pushing for the tax hike likely turned in enough signature to take the issue to voters.

The proposed amendment to the state constitution would take the tax from 84 cents per pack of cigarettes to $2.59 per pack, putting Colorado toward the high end of tobacco taxes if the measure is approved by in November. Other tobacco products would be taxed at an increased 22 percent of the manufacturer's list price.

The Campaign for a Healthy Colorado gathered signatures to take the issue to voters.

"Passing this measure will save lives," said Chris Stille, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital Colorado. "It will stop tobacco companies from getting more kids addicted, and it will make a historic investment in health care programs and medical research to help Coloradans most affected by smoking and to create healthier communities for future generations."

The campaign estimates the new taxes will raise $315 million in the first year.

Revenue is generated by the new tax will be appropriated by percentages to things like medical research into cancer and other diseases, medical and mental health care for veterans, smoking cessation programs, expanded access to youth behavioral health services, and a training and student-loan payment program for medical professionals in rural and undeserved areas.

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Contact Megan Schrader: 286-0644

Twitter @CapitolSchrader

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