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New taxes on nicotine products fund prevention and cessation services in mountain communities
SUMMIT COUNTY – Quitting nicotine is among the most common New Year’s resolutions. And in many of Colorado's mountain communities, including Summit County, new local regulations and taxes are designed to help residents kick the habit.
Effective Jan. 1, several local jurisdictions have raised taxes on all tobacco and nicotine products. Voters in Pitkin, Eagle and Summit counties, and the municipalities of Crested Butte, Glenwood Springs, New Castle and Vail, all passed tax increases in November 2018 for cigarettes, vaping products, chewing tobacco, cigarillos and all other nicotine products.
"Summit County is taking major steps to prevent young people from developing nicotine addictions, and we're supporting the strong majority of nicotine and tobacco users in our community who are trying to quit," Summit County Public Health Nurse Lauren Gilbert said. "There’s never been a better time to start off a new year without nicotine."
The revenues from these new local taxes will bolster public health services, including increased nicotine prevention and cessation services. The taxes also serve as a financial disincentive to tobacco and nicotine use, especially among youth, who are particularly sensitive to price increases.
Most nicotine users have seriously considered quitting multiple times. The increasing costs of tobacco and vaping products in these mountain communities make 2020 the perfect year to get those New Year's resolutions to stick.
Nearly 80 percent of Colorado tobacco users try to quit every year, but many do not take advantage of the free support services that are proven to help them succeed. Those who do use the free coaching and medications from the Colorado QuitLine (www.coquitline.org) experience a rate of success about seven times greater than those who try to quit on their own.
Youth 12 and older who are trying to quit vaping, chewing or smoking can access free coaching from the QuitLine at www.coyouthquitline.org. Medications are available to adults 18 and older. Online enrollment takes just five minutes at www.coquitline.org, and nicotine users can get coaching via live online chat or over the phone. Ordering free nicotine patches, lozenges or gum is as easy as shopping online. Program participants just log in, order a product and let the QuitLine ship it to their door at no charge.
Tobacco Free Colorado, a project of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, has free resources for anyone interested in helping a friend or family member quit nicotine. People who have help are more likely to quit forever than people who quit without support. The program's tips, facts and resources are available online at www.tobaccofreeco.org/quit-tobacco/i-want-to-help-someone.