Avon should raise tobacco tax for kids and health (letter) | VailDaily.com

Avon should raise tobacco tax for kids and health (letter)

Avon voters have an exceptional opportunity to improve the Town's health and economy by supporting Issue 2B, which will increase the tobacco tax. This critical action will prevent kids from smoking, prompt smokers to quit, save lives and reduce health care costs substantially.

The need for this initiative is clear. Tobacco is the No. 1 preventable cause of death and disease in Colorado, killing 5,100 residents each year and sickening many more. The vast majority of these smokers started as kids. Despite progress in reducing smoking, Colorado leads the nation in ecigarette use amongst our kids.

The nation's top public health authorities – including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Surgeon General – agree that increasing tobacco taxes is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking.

Colorado spends more than $1.89 billion a year on health care costs directly caused by smoking, including $386.3 million from Medicaid.

We are disappointed that the Editorial Team failed to cite these direct benefits to improving health, reducing use rates amongst kids and adults, and recovering long-term healthcare costs.

We applaud the foresight of the Avon Town Council for leading the way to protect Avon's kids by raising the age of sale on tobacco, enacting tobacco retail licensure, and for referring this critical public health measure to Avon's voters.

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We are hopeful that Avon voters will also place their vote to protect future generations by voting Yes on 2B.

Jodi L. Radke

Regional director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids