We support a referred measure to decrease teen vaping and smoking
The Colorado Children’s Campaign joins the many health, education and community leaders who strongly support legislation introduced this week to curb youth nicotine and tobacco use. Colorado’s teenagers report e-cigarette use at twice the national average; we lead the nation in teen vaping. Increasing the costs of taking up and using nicotine in the teen years can dramatically cut the odds of becoming a life-long smoker. Unfortunately, Colorado’s cigarette tax rate is among the lowest in the country (39th) and we have no excise tax on liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes.
“Curbing youth smoking and vaping would make Colorado children and families healthier—no question,” said Kelly Causey, President and CEO of the Colorado Children’s Campaign. “Addressing our youth vaping epidemic with this approach will have a positive impact on the health of our children. In addition, Colorado will invest new revenue from this measure in programs that further support the health and well-being of children and families.”
The proposed bill would refer a measure to voters that would raise our taxes on cigarettes from 39th in the nation to closer to the national average. E-cigarettes, or liquid nicotine used for vaping, would be taxed at an equivalent rate. Revenue generated from the increased tax on tobacco and nicotine would be reinvested in programs that improve the health and educational experiences of children, including significant investments in:
- Expanding and enhancing the Colorado Preschool Program (CPP), our state’s home-grown and evidence-based early childhood education program. CPP students make significant gains in learning and healthy development while in the program, and are less likely to be retained in the early grades. They are less likely to have a significant reading deficiency in school, and they graduate high school at higher rates than their peers.
- Expanding tobacco prevention, education, and cessation programs.
- Lowering health care costs, and increasing funding for mental health services for children and youth. This includes school-based mental health services.
- Increased opportunities for youth to participate in expanded learning initiatives, including after school and summer learning programs.
We urge the Colorado General Assembly to refer this measure to voters to reduce youth nicotine and tobacco use and dedicate new revenue to smart investments in child health and well-being.