Big Tobacco — not an industry known for sticking to the truth under pressure — is spending $10 million dollars to mislead voters about Amendment 72. We want to give you the tools to answer questions you might be getting from family and friends about why they should vote YES on Amendment 72.
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Q: WHY SHOULD WE RAISE TAXES ON CIGARETTES?
If there’s one thing that the Centers for Disease Control, the Surgeon General, and Phillip Morris agree on, it’s this: raising the price of cigarettes is the best way to get people to stop smoking, and to stop kids from starting.
Based on studies of tobacco tax increases all over the country, Amendment 72 is predicted to prevent more than 34,000 kids from becoming smokers, save over 20,000 lives and save over $1.4 billion in future health care costs.
Q: WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO?
Contrary to ads being funding by tobacco companies, all of the money raised by Amendment 72 is dedicated to programs that will directly benefit those most impacted by smoking. From programs to help people quit to medical research on smoking-related diseases like lung cancer; from veterans health services to medical improvements for clinics treating underserved Coloradans, all of the money raised by the tax is accounted for and targeted where it can do the most good for those most affected by smoking.
Q: WHAT ABOUT E-CIGARETTES AND MARIJUANA? WHY NOT TAX JUNK FOOD AND ALCOHOL?
Here’s the thing: Colorado’s “Single Subject Rule” says that a bill can only focused on one topic. The Yes on 72 coalition chose to focus on the primary problem: smoking, which kills more people in Colorado every year than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined.
Q: WON’T THIS TAX INCREASE JUST CAUSE A RISE IN SMUGGLING AND ILLICIT CIGARETTE TRADE?
The tobacco industry has pushed scare tactics like this for decades, and numerous studies have called these predictions exaggerated. In fact, there has only been a single case of cigarette smuggling in Colorado since the tobacco tax was last raised in 2004. Cigarette tax increases are proven to work and that’s why tobacco companies fight them.
Meanwhile, Colorado is falling behind: we currently rank 38th in the nation for cigarette taxes. Passing Amendment 72 will allow us to fund smoking cessation and prevention programs at the level recommended by the CDC for the first time in decades.
Q: WHY IS THIS BEING PUT IN THE CONSTITUTION?
To protect these funds for the programs voters intend, we need to put the cigarette tax in the Constitution where it’s safe from politics and lobbying from big tobacco. In fact, tobacco taxes have been in the Colorado Constitution since 2004, and have helped thousands of smokers to quit. Amendment 72 makes the existing (but outdated) tax more effective at deterring smoking by raising the rate. It will also provide funding to programs which help smokers quit and take care of their long term health needs. The best way to ensure those funds are protected is to put them somewhere they’re off limits to short-sighted political decisions.
The team at the Yes on 72 campaign