Cities and counties on the Western Slope passed new taxes on nicotine products.
Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed a bill allowing cities and counties to impose their own taxes on nicotine products without losing out on their share of proceeds from a state tobacco tax.
So, this fall, local governments across the state jumped at the chance to ask voters whether the government could collect new taxes, ostensibly aimed at curbing teen vaping.
Voters approved the measures by sweeping margins.
As part of their respective ballot initiatives, Crested Butte, Vail, New Castle and Glenwood Springs will impose a tax between $3 and $4 per pack of cigarettes, and a 40 percent tax on nicotine products other than cigarettes.
Crested Butte and Vail will tax $3 per pack, New Castle will tax $3.20 per pack and Glenwood Springs $4 per pack. Boulder, which has already banned flavored vaping products, approved a 40 percent tax on e-cigarette products.
Voters in Eagle, Summit and Pitkin counties also approved a nicotine tax mirroring the one passed in Glenwood Springs. Those counties' teen vaping rates are among the highest in the state, according to the 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey
That survey showed 27 percent of Colorado teens vape, the highest statewide rate in the country.
The new taxes come on the heels of a nationwide outbreak of a mysterious vaping-related illness that has claimed the lives of 37 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
, which had logged more than 1,800 total cases as of Oct. 29.
Colorado has seen 11 cases of the vaping-related illness, according to the state Department of Public Health and Environment
Out of the 1,364 patients nationwide for which the CDC has data on age and sex:
- 70 percent are male.
- The median age is 24, and ages range from 13 to 75 years.
- 79 percent of patients are under 35 years old.
States reporting 100 or more cases include California, Utah, Texas and Illinois.
The CDC reports that most people affected by the outbreak reported vaping products that contained THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. However, the CDC has not determined a cause of the illness.
Instead, the agency continues encouraging the millions of Americans who vape to stop vaping, though it has issued some new advice recently:
- "If you are an adult using e-cigarettes, or vaping, products, to quit smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes. Adults addicted to nicotine using e-cigarettes should weigh all risks and benefits and consider utilizing FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapies."
- "If people continue to use an e-cigarette, or vaping, product, carefully monitor yourself for symptoms and see a healthcare provider immediately if you develop symptoms like those reported in this outbreak."
The CDC urges people not to buy black market vaping products, or modify products in ways not intended by the manufacturer.