Lane County, the home of the University of Oregon, became the first city in Oregon to pass a tobacco 21 ordinance. The ordinance covers all areas in the county, both incorporated and unincorporated, as an act of the Board of Health. The effort was originally started by Commissioner Jay Bozievich, who has been a driving force behind Lane County’s effort as well as a supporter of the statewide effort to raise the minimum legal sales age (MLSA) to 21.
Unfortunately, Commissioner Bozievich voted “no” for the new ordinance, as it did not include a clause to grandfather current 18 year olds already smoking into the new law, allowing them to continue to buy tobacco products. While his intent behind grandfathering was well-meaning, to aid those already addicted, there are ways to reach this same goal without continuing the supply line of tobacco products into high schools. Offering FDA approved cessation services through the county health department, using the quit line, and writing a 6-8 month implementation date lead-up are only a few of the ways to assist those already addicted toward quitting tobacco products completely.
We thank Commissioner Bozievich, Lane County Board of Health, and the Lane County Health & Human Services for their action to protect children from a lifetime of addiction in Oregon.