Big Tobacco Wins on Back of Colorado Children

Big Tobacco Misinformation Leads to Failure of Passage of Amendment 72

Statement attributable to
Polly Anderson
Vice President of Strategy and Financing
Colorado Community Health Network (CCHN)

DENVER― Coloradans and especially our children lost a big one yesterday: the failure to pass of Amendment 72 means that more of our kids will start smoking and become addicted.

Big Tobacco’s $17.5 million misinformation campaign against Amendment 72 means that many in Colorado did not know what the amendment language truly said. Amendment 72 included specific language explaining exactly how revenue would have been used and would have been distributed by competitive grant processes. The grant programs would have been authorized by the General Assembly via legislation, overseen by existing state agencies and audited regularly by the state auditor.

There were no blanks checks in this amendment. None.

However, the Virginia-based tobacco giant Altria Client Services, formerly Philip Morris, spent about $17.5 million in Colorado to defeat the amendment. Altria, among Fortune Magazine’s 500 largest companies for over two decades, enabled the No on 72 campaign to spend more than what the two major party candidates for president combined spent on advertising in Colorado.

Raising the cost of cigarettes through a tax increase has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to help kids never start smoking and to help current smokers quit. Currently, Colorado kids smoke seven million packs of cigarettes a year.

Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in Colorado, taking more than 5,000 lives per year, at a cost of almost two billion dollars annually, or more than $700 a year per household, whether they smoke or not.

We in the health care and public health communities will continue to work hard to help Coloradans fight the scourge of tobacco.

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To interview Ms. Anderson, please contact Maureen Maxwell at (303) 861-5165, Ext. 259, cell (303)913-9078, or

The Colorado Community Health Network (CCHN) is the unified voice for Colorado’s 20 Community Health Centers (CHCs) and their patients. CHCs provide a health care home for more than 700,000 of their community members – more than one in eight people in Colorado – from 61 of the state’s 64 counties. Without CHCs, hundreds of thousands of Colorado’s low-income families and individuals would have no regular source of health care. CCHN’s mission is to increase access to high quality health care for people in need in Colorado. For more information about CCHN, please visit