Mesa County to add tax on e-cigarettes?

Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 9:35 PM MDT
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Vaping is very popular among teenagers these days. 80 Colorado counties have filed suit against the e-cigarette company Juul, claiming they’ve produced fake advertising, targeting young teens and kids.

"It could produce some money and we might be able to say so we need some money for recreation? Do we have some needs in the community?” says Grand Junction Mayor, Duke Wortmann.

Aspen recently added a $4 tax on e-cigarettes but City Council says they have options.

"I don’t believe we’d be looking to match any other community. We’d be looking at what makes sense for Grand Junction and for our residents given our tax levels and given our community,” says Council Member, Anna Stout.

You must be 21 years old to buy a vape. But high school students can get their hands on them. Stout says she wants to focus on information that will actually reduce the number of underage kids vaping.

"There is a lot of data that shows that when you tax things like smoking, it becomes an undue tax on the poor. So I want to make sure any decisions we make don't have an unexpected effect on another population,” says Stout.

The latest numbers from Mesa County Public Health show that more than 30% of high school students have admitted to trying a vape product that has nicotine in it. It also says parents are the frontline. They believe parents are the key to educate their kids to help reduce those numbers

"As a parent, you just try to educate your kids and help them make good choices. Ultimately, they’re going to be the ones that have to deal with the pure pressure and make those final decisions about their life,” says parent, Mike DeGeorge.

A separate report says 60% of Mesa County high school students say it is easy or very easy to get e-cigarettes.

If citing a tax is the answer, the city council says it can make the ballot as quick as November or make a final decision as far as April 2021.