Tobacco Tax to Fund Critical Health Needs Heads to Colorado Voters

Written by: Erin Miller
Date Posted: August 26, 2016

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Colorado voters will be asked to vote for a tobacco tax in November to raise money for critical unmet health needs for all Coloradans, especially those most impacted by tobacco use. It will also fully fund tobacco education programs to reduce smoking, particularly among young people.

This initiative is supported by the Colorado Children’s Campaign and others such as the Healthier Colorado, United Veterans Committee of Colorado, Children’s Hospital Colorado, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association, to name a few. The Campaign for a Healthy Colorado is leading the effort to reach out to voters and needs help—click here to learn more.

Every year, more than 5,000 Coloradans—most of whom started smoking as teenagers—die from tobacco-related illnesses. This measure will fully fund programs to reduce tobacco use in Colorado by keeping kids from starting to smoke and helping smokers quit.

This measure also will improve the lives of all Coloradans by making the largest investment in state history into cutting-edge, tobacco-related research at our best medical and research centers. This investment, which is required to be spent only at in-state research facilities, will result in new treatments for the prevention and detection of cancer, heart and lung disease, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as research into early-childhood development. Funding will also support mental and behavioral health care for Colorado kids and access to health care in rural and underserved areas.

The tax—an increase of $1.75 on a pack of cigarettes and a 22 percent increase on other tobacco products like cigars and chewing tobacco—will raise approximately $315 million annually in the first years. For more information about where the money would go, visit www.healthyco2016.com/benefits.

Erin Miller

About Erin Miller

Erin serves as the Vice President of Health Initiatives for the Colorado Children’s Campaign, leading efforts to improve health insurance coverage and quality for Colorado’s kids, improve access to health services, and ensure that every child has healthy places to live, learn, and play. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign in September 2015, Erin worked on the Accountable Care Collaborative team at the Colorado Department of Health Policy and Financing. She has extensive experience evaluating federal, state, and local policies related to Medicaid, CHIP, the Affordable Care Act, and public health programs as well as working with legislators, policymakers, constituents, and other stakeholders to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. Her professional experiences range from serving as a WIC Educator and Local Area Retail Coordinator for Denver Health to serving as a Special Assistant in the HHS Office of Planning and Evaluation in Washington DC and as a Health Policy Adviser and Budget Analyst for the U.S. House Budget Committee.