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Fact Sheet Fact Sheet

Tobacco use in Colorado 2019

Cigarette use: Colorado*

Cigarette use in Colorado

  • In 2017, 14.6% of adults smoked. Nationally, the rate was 17.1%.1
  • In 2017, 7.0% of high school students in Colorado smoked cigarettes on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 8.8%.2
Cigarette use in Colorado graphic

Other tobacco product use: Colorado

  • In 2017, 5.3% of adults used e-cigarettes and 4.0% used smokeless tobacco.3
  • In 2017, 26.2% of high school students in Colorado used electronic vapor products on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 13.2%.2
Other tobacco product use in Colorado graphic

Economics of tobacco use and tobacco control

Economics of tobacco use in Colorado

  • Colorado received $286.3 million (estimated) in revenue from tobacco settlement payments and taxes in fiscal year 2019.4
  • Of this, the state allocated $23.6 million in state funds to tobacco prevention in fiscal year 2019, 44.6% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual spending target.4
  • Smoking-related health care costs: $1.89 billion per year.4
  • Smoking-related losses in productivity: $1.27 billion per year.5
Cigarette tobacco tax in Colorado graph

Colorado tobacco laws

Cigarette tax in Colorado

Tobacco taxes

  • Colorado is ranked 39th in the U.S. for its cigarette tax of 84 cents per pack (enacted January 2005), compared with the national average of $1.81. (The District of Columbia has the highest tax at $4.50 and Missouri has the lowest at 17 cents.) 6-8
  • All other tobacco products are taxed at 40% of the manufacturer’s list price.6,7

Clean indoor air ordinances

  • Smoking is prohibited in all government and private workplaces (nonpublic workplaces with three or fewer employees are exempt), schools, childcare facilities, retail stores, recreational/cultural facilities, restaurants, bars (cigar/tobacco bars are exempt) and casinos/gaming establishments (tribal establishments are exempt).6,7
  • E-cigarettes are included in the state’s clean indoor air law.

Youth access laws

  • The minimum age to purchase tobacco products in Colorado is 21. In December 2019, the United States adopted a law raising the federal minimum age of sale of all tobacco products to 21, effective immediately.
  • Establishments are required to post signs stating that sales to minors are prohibited.6

Local tobacco laws

  • Aspen, Avon, Basalt, Carbondale and Edgewater prohibit the sale of tobacco products to those under age 21.9

Quitting statistics and benefits

Quitting statistics in Colorado

  • The CDC estimates 53.2% of daily adult smokers in Colorado quit smoking for one or more days in 2017.3
  • In 2014, the Affordable Care Act required that Medicaid programs cover all quit medications.7**
  • Colorado’s state quit line invests $5.79 per smoker, compared with the national average of $2.21.7
  • Colorado has a private insurance mandate provision for quitting tobacco.7

Notes and references

Updated April 2019

*National and state-level prevalence numbers reflect the most recent data available. This may differ across state fact sheets.

**The seven recommended quitting medications are NRT gum, NRT patch, NRT nasal spray, NRT inhaler, NRT lozenge, Varenicline (Chantix) and Bupropion (Zyban).
Fiore MC, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service: May 2008.

1. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2017.

2. CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2017.

3. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System, 2017.

4. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Broken Promises to Our Children: a State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 20 Years Later FY2019, 2018.

5. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Toll of Tobacco in the United States.

6. American Lung Association, State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues (SLATI).

7. American Lung Association, State of Tobacco Control, 2019.

8. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. State Cigarette Excise Tax Rates & Rankings.

9. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. States and Localities that have Raised the Minimum Legal Sales Age for Tobacco Products to 21.