The pros and cons of Amendment 72

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo — This election, people in Colorado have several important ballot measures to make decisions about.

On Wednesday, we broke down Amendment 72, which would raise the taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products significantly.

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, 17.4 percent of Coloradans smoke – that’s just below the national average.

This new tax would make cigarettes $1.75 more expensive per pack, which brings the tax to $2.59 total per pack.

There are mixed opinions about this amendment.

This tax increase might seem like common sense for most voters.

An increase in the price of cigarettes might entice people to quit and stop others from starting, but as with most things related to politics, it’s never that simple.

Don Trefethen is a smoker of 25 years and he’s against the amendment for reasons more than just money out of his pocket.

“I’m against constitutional amendments that can’t be changed. I’m against any taxes that have no true meaning or no end product with an open ended budget. I’m just against more taxes period,” said Trefethen.

The tax would give the state $315 million a year to spend and is scheduled to be divided into 7 different areas, including cancer research and smoking prevention.

For former tobacco chewer Paul Warner, the last part is the most important.

“As long as it brings up cancer awareness and the dangers of smoking and chewing tobacco then I don’t see anything wrong with it,” said Warner.

“If the amendment passes some people hope it would mean less people buying cigarettes and lighting up, but you might be surprised that that might not be the case.

“Punishing people isn’t going to make them quit. I mean, it’s a working man’s tax already. Those that don’t have to worry about taxes don’t have to pay it anyway,” said Trefethen.

“Those diehard tobacco fans are going to find a way to get their tobacco regardless,” said Warner.

Just like when Paul quit, he said some smokers might eventually come around to being healthier.

“I think that when smokers find out that they really can’t afford it anymore they’ll find good use of the money that’s in their pocket,” said Warner.

The debate over Amendment 72 essentially boils down to two things for some voters:

Some simply don’t like higher taxes that would give the state $315 million dollars every year.

Others will view the benefits of having more funding for cancer research and the other programs as a positive.

It’s also important to keep in mind that if the amendment passes there would need to be another vote to repeal it from the state’s constitution.

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