Tobacco tax increase fails in Colorado

DENVER (AP) — Colorado voters have defeated a ballot initiative that would have tripled cigarette taxes.

The initiative would have raised the state tax from 84 cents to $2.59 per pack starting Jan. 1. The state health department said that’s nearly a dollar more than the $1.63 national average.

Taxes on cigars and chewing tobacco would have risen 22 percent.

Proponents argued that higher prices deter the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products, especially among children and young adults.

Those against the proposal said it would have created a constitutional requirement that money from the new taxes be spent on specific programs, even if those programs don’t reduce the cost of tobacco use. They also argued it would have locked in spending on unnecessary programs, even if other needs are identified in the state budget.

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