Fact checking the fight over raising cigarette taxes

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DENVER-- If you are smoker, this is the most important issue this election.

Amendment 72, if passed, would raise cigarette taxes from 84-cents per pack to $2.59 per pack. Taxes on other tobacco products like cigars could go up 60 percent.

"To take my choice away or tax me is very unfair," Cathi Trail, a manager of Smoker Friendly in Denver, said.

Inside Trail's shop are signs advocating voting against Amendment 72.

"I'll light up two cigarettes and blow them in your face," Trail said -- admitting to how much she enjoys smoking.

Trail is not alone in her opposition --- the tobacco industry has poured millions into an opposition campaign.

But in a unique spin the campaign is not advocating for protecting cigarettes, they are advocating protecting the constitution.

The Problem Solvers decided to fact check this advertisement, sponsored by "No Blank Checks In Our Constitution."

Claim: "It's a 315 million dollar tax on tobacco, that would lock government spending programs deep inside our constitution."
Verdict:  True
Reasoning: The state's independent blue book confirms that the state could receive up to $315 million dollars as a a result of this tax increase. It also confirms the state would need to amendment the constitution in order to change the tax to another rate.

Claim: "That's not right especially where we don't know where much of the money is going."
Verdict: False
Reasoning: We do know where most of the revenue will go. According to the state's blue book, Amendment 72 will disperse funds in a similar manner to how the current cigarette tax is collected.

Governor Hickenlooper announced support for the measure, citing how this will stop people from starting to smoke.

"With this tax they think 20,000 lives can be saved," Hickenlooper told Fox 31 reporter Joe St. George.

To watch more of what the Governor said on Amendment 72 click on this link which directs you to our interview. 

To read more on Amendment 72, and all the other Amendments, visit our Problem Solvers Voting Guide.

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