Eagle County 1A: Tobacco tax way out front in early results
EAGLE — In a pack of jubilant 1A supporters, Eagle Valley High School senior Lily Reynolds might have been the happiest person present.
From the first results reported shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday night through the second round released at 9 p.m., the Eagle County tobacco tax measure held strong with more than 69% of voters supporting 1A.
For Reynolds, it was a personal victory for a cause she has championed for two years. She became a strong local voice against youth vaping as she saw more and more of her classmates from EVHS succumb to the practice.
“I was seeing kids I have known since first-grade get addicted,” said Reynolds. “It wasn’t just ‘those kids.’ It was everyone. I had friends who couldn’t make it through a class period without leaving to take a hit.”
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“I just felt strongly this measure had to happen,” Reynolds said. “It was not being addressed as a problem.”
With 9,620 ballots counted as of 9 p.m. Tuesday night, the measure was leading 6,134 votes in favor to 2,801 opposed. That translated into a 69% to 31% margin of victory.
Ballot question 1A sought voter support for a hefty tax on tobacco and nicotine product sales — 20 cents per cigarette or $4 per pack and a 40% tax on the sale of all other tobacco and nicotine products. Tobacco-use cessation products such as nicotine patches and gum are exempt from the tax.
“It is such a victory for our community and our youth,” said Mandy Ivanov, Eagle County Public Health and Environment Policy and Partnerships Strategist during an election watch party in Eagle. “I am proud of our county that we are leading the charge to approve measures to reduce the impact of tobacco.”
The tobacco tax is one of three key elements the county has promoted to reduce tobacco and nicotine product use. The other actions include raising the legal purchase age to 21 years and instituting a licensing procedure for retail outlets who sell the products.
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Tuesday is election day in Basalt. A new mayor will be elected and three council seats filled. Town officials are urging residents not to wait until the last day to cast their ballots.