Proposed Tax on Tobacco Would Benefit Oral Health in Colorado

Molly PereiraFeatured News

May 25, 2016

Quit smoking, human hands breaking up cigarette

In coming weeks, you will hear more about a Colorado ballot initiative the CDA is supporting. This initiative proposes a tax increase on tobacco products. Smokeless tobacco products would be taxed at 22% of the manufacturer list price, and cigarettes would incur a $1.75 tax per pack. If passed, this initiative is estimated to raise anywhere from $192 million to $315 million for tobacco cessation, research and other healthcare-related programs, including those that would greatly improve access to dental care.

Oral Health Programs and Services to Be Funded
If passed, revenue would support the addition of a rural dental track through the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine, increased loan repayment opportunities for dentists and dental hygienists, and training of community dental health coordinators to provide case management and community outreach. Revenue also would support the creation and expansion of dental services at federally qualified health centers in rural and underserved areas in Colorado. The CDA proposed and supported funding of these dental programs and services.
Reducing the Use of Tobacco Products 
The tax would go a long way in reducing the use of tobacco products in the state. Recent data shows a rise in tobacco use in Colorado. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Coloradans bought 194.4 million packs of cigarettes in 2015. This is an increase of 1.1 million packs over 2014 sales and the first increase in nearly a decade, suggesting current tax levels might not be sufficient to discourage use. Taxes on tobacco products haven’t been increased since 2005, and the revenue generated by that increase no longer is significant to fund necessary cessation programs. The proposed ballot initiative would fully fund the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for investments in tobacco education, prevention, and cessation programs for Colorado’s youth and adult population.
Why? Because Dental Health Matters!
The CDA launched Dental Health Matters as a means to become more active in public education and to support important dental health-related causes. We ask for members’ support for this initiative as we move forward.
Join the campaign for a healthy Colorado!