Next week, the Eagle County Board of Commissioners will consider two resolutions aimed at limiting access to tobacco and nicotine products by younger users. The hearing will take place during the board’s regular public meeting, scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 27 in the Eagle County Room, 500 Broadway in Eagle.
Ample opportunity for public comment will be provided and all interested community members are encouraged to attend. Both resolutions are available for review at www.eaglecounty.us/Commissioners/Commissioner_Meetings/Agendas.
As drafted, the first resolution would raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco and tobacco products to 21, and establish a licensing program to regulate the sales of cigarettes, tobacco products and nicotine products.
The second resolution would refer a question to Eagle County voters, asking for approval to increase taxes on cigarettes and tobacco and nicotine products. The proposed ballot language is as follows:
SHALL EAGLE COUNTY TAXES BE INCREASED BY UP TO FOUR MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS IN 2020 AND BY SUCH AMOUNTS AS MAY BE GENERATED ANNUALLY THEREAFTER BY THE IMPOSITION OF NEW TAXES AS FOLLOWS: BEGINNING JANUARY 1, 2020, THERE SHALL BE A NEW TAX OF TWENTY CENTS PER CIGARETTE OR FOUR DOLLARS PER PACK OF TWENTY CIGARETTES SOLD; BEGINNING JANUARY 1, 2020, THERE SHALL BE A NEW SALES TAX OF 40 PERCENT ON THE SALES PRICE OF ALL OTHER TOBACCO AND NICOTINE PRODUCTS;
THE TERMS “CIGARETTE,” “TOBACCO PRODUCT” AND “NICOTINE PRODUCT” HAVE THE SAME MEANINGS AS IN SECTION 18-13-121 OF THE COLORADO REVISED STATUTES;
THE TAX REVENUES SHALL BE USED FOR THE SPECIFIC PURPOSES OF PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAMS AND EDUCATION, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION:
• REDUCING TEEN VAPING THROUGH EDUCATION ABOUT THE HARMFUL CONTENTS OF FLAVORED NICOTINE PRODUCTS THAT APPEAL TO CHILDREN;
• LOCAL ENFORCEMENT PREVENTING THE SALE OF VAPING PRODUCTS, E-CIGARETTES AND TOBACCO PRODUCTS TO UNDERAGE PERSONS; AND
• PROVIDING SERVICES THAT PROTECT AND IMPROVE PUBLIC HEALTH SUCH AS SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND OTHER SERVICES;
AND THAT EAGLE COUNTY MAY COLLECT, RETAIN, AND EXPEND ALL REVENUES OF SUCH TAXES AND THE EARNINGS THEREON, NOTWITHSTANDING THE LIMITATION OF ARTICLE X, SECTION 20 OF THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION OR ANY OTHER LAW?
Within Eagle County, the towns of Avon and Basalt have already increased the minimum age for purchase to 21 and have added taxes to tobacco and nicotine products. Neighboring counties including Pitkin and Summit are considering similar measures. If approved by voters, Eagle County’s tax would not apply in jurisdictions with an existing tax without an intergovernmental agreement.
For those unable to attend in person, commissioner meetings are aired and streamed live by ECGtv, available at www.ecgtv.com and on channel 18 on the two cable providers in the Eagle River Valley. To comment on the resolutions in advance of the meeting, email firstname.lastname@example.org or answer a brief survey at www.eaglecounty.us/publichealthsurvey by Aug. 25.