Eagle County tobacco tax brings in $221,794 in first month
Revenue is already being funneled into Break Up with Nic and Be Nic Free Campaigns
In the first month of Eagle County’s new tobacco tax, Eagle County collected $221,794, which will help fund nicotine and tobacco education, prevention, and cessation efforts throughout the community.
Eagle County voters approved new taxes on the sale of nicotine and tobacco products this past November, and the law went effect on Jan. 1. Retailers that sell cigarettes, tobacco and nicotine products are required to pay $4 per pack of cigarettes and 40% on tobacco and nicotine products other than cigarettes.
The price increase, plus a county tobacco retail license requirement and minimum sales age increase to 21, are specifically aimed at reducing underage youth consumption, enhancing efforts to prevent teen tobacco and vaping, and supporting countywide public health programs.
The tobacco tax revenue is already being put to good use through the Break Up with Nic and Be Nic Free Campaigns launched in February to promote tobacco cessation awareness.
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“It has been exciting to see this campaign come to life, now that funding is available,” said Mandy Ivonov, policy and partnerships strategist for the county. “Public Health is working with community partners to prompt behavior change and a shift in peer acceptance around youth vape and other tobacco product use. We are also concerned that these products and devices — nicotine itself and the lithium batteries — are contaminating our environment, and encourage everyone to utilize drop boxes found across community sites for proper disposal.”
Many Eagle County youth have spoken up about the rise of vaping among peers to epidemic levels. Desiring to change social norms around youth nicotine and tobacco use, the Break up with Nic campaign leverages a partnership between students, school district prevention specialists, and community partners to encourage non-use and proper disposal of these products.
Youth are encouraged to dispose of tobacco/vape products anonymously and without disciplinary consequence at drop boxes placed at the Gypsum Recreation Center, Eagle Pool and Ice Rink, Edwards Fieldhouse, Avon Recreation Center, Minturn Fitness Center, and the Colorado Mountain Medical offices in Eagle, Avon and Vail. Participants will receive a pair of movie tickets or a week-long pass to the recreation center at the time of the drop as well as a youth-specific cessation resource list. They will also be entered into drawings for prizes including Apple Airpods, monthly recreation passes, Spotify gift cards, backpacks and more.
Additionally, every student has the opportunity each week to pledge to be nicotine free, whether they have ever used, never used, or want to quit for a week. Participation in the weekly pledge will provide entry into the prize drawings as well. Winners have the opportunity to connect with a prevention specialist for a conversation about the concerns youth are facing and any cessation support needs they have for themselves or for friends and family. The pledge link, parent resources, and youth cessation support can be found at http://www.breakupwithnic.com.
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When a crowd of around 500 people showed up in Vail on Tuesday night to join a protest march in support of Black Lives Matter, the gathering plainly violated Eagle County’s current COVID-19 recommendations.