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UNITED STATES

Aspen raises tobacco tax and legal age of sale

02 Jan 2018. Starting 1 January, the legal age to purchase tobacco products is 21 in Aspen, Colorado. Tobacco consumers will also have to pay a new tax on cigarettes and additional tobacco products, The Aspen Times reported.

Smokers will have to begin paying USD 3 per pack of cigarettes in Aspen. The cigarette tax is set to increase by annual increments of 10 cents until reaching a total of USD 4. Other tobacco and nicotine products will have an additional 40 per cent tax, according to The Aspen Times.

This is the result of two laws passed in 2017. In June, Aspen residents passed a law to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21. The new tobacco tax proposed in November passed by a 3-1 margin, according to The Aspen Times.

Aspen retailers who sell tobacco products will have to pay a one-time licence's fee of USD 500 in 2018, according to the new tobacco law. C.J. Oliver, Aspenís Environmental Health Department director, was quoted as saying there will be approximately seven to nine licences issued.

The tobacco tax was suggested as a way to counteract likely lower revenue from cigarette sales after raising the legal tobacco purchasing age to 21, according to The Aspen Times.

This is a local law change. Due to this, the city's Environmental Health Department is responsible for enforcing the laws and are advising retailers to post signs to alert tobacco consumers about the law changes. Oliver said, "I'll spend some time in stores, stand in line, make sure the store and their manager are clear. It's really going to be a matter of periodically walking through and making sure they understand and there is compliance."