Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress
3/14/2017 – Lane County passes a tobacco 21 ordinance, becoming the first locality in the state to enact a law and covering nearly 365,000 people.
3/14/2017 – Oregon Senate Bill 754 passed by Senate Committee on Health with Do Pass recommendation on the Senate floor.
2/7/2017 – Oregon Senate Bill 754 introduced to Senate by Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, referred to Senate Committee on Health; would raise tobacco age to 21 in Oregon and hold business owner responsible for violations
11/29/2016 – Lane County Board of Health supports Tobacco 21 by moving forward with drafting an ordinance
3/6/2015 – Oregon Senate Bill 732 referred to Judiciary Committee
2/26/2015 – Oregon Senate Bill 732 introduced to Senate by Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, would raise tobacco age to 21 in Oregon

Oregon currently has one of the lowest rates of high school smoking in the country, and a slightly above average rate of adult smoking. An estimated 68,000 children now under the age of 18 will eventually die prematurely due to smoking, with 1,800 children becoming daily smokers each year. The result is $1.54 billion in annual health care costs directly caused by smoking. The state has been increasing its tobacco prevention funding recently, but has significant budget shortfalls this session, causing cuts to tobacco prevention funding. Right now, however, the state is only spending 8% of the CDC recommended amount.

There is currently a robust effort in Oregon to increase the Minimum Legal Sales Age (MLSA) of all tobacco products to 21. The effort has been spearheaded by Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-NW Portland/Beaverton, along with a statewide coalition of partners called Tobacco 21 for Oregon, on which the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation is a member of the steering committee. Strong support in the both the House and Senate make a tobacco 21 law in Oregon a real possibility in 2017.

Local champions have largely driven this movement in non-preempted states. Your voice is more influential than you think. Constituents are an impetus for change at the community and statewide levels. Garner interest around Tobacco 21 at the local and state level by communicating with your local legislators through phone calls, emails, and testimony at local government meetings. Tobacco 21 has been enacted in Lane County, one of Oregon’s largest population centers. Which has, in turn, spurred even more conversation in the state legislature.

There is no preemption language present in state law keeping localities from raising the Minimum Legal Sales Age (MLSA) to 21. Local governments are free to enact ordinances to better protect their kids from addiction. It has been our experience that the most powerful incentive for the state legislature to act is the initiative of local citizens and governmental leaders. Statewide, California and Hawaii’s laws both began at the local level where powerful tobacco industry lobbyists have little sway. We encourage you to talk to your local city council person, county council member or board of health leader.

For more information, you may contact:

Eric Brodell
Western Regional Director
Tobacco 21

Christina Bodamer
Senior Director, Government Relations
American Heart Association

Christopher Friend
Oregon Government Relations Director
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Tobacco Free Kids Oregon: “The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.”

American Lung Association State Report Card: “The ALA ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2014.”

SLATI State Information Oregon: “SLATI (State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues) is an extensively researched and invaluable source of information on tobacco control laws and policy, and is the only up-to-date and comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws.”

The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids support these four principles for Tobacco 21 ordinances:

1) Include all tobacco and nicotine products, specifically e-cigarettes. The only exceptions would be FDA recognized nicotine replacement products (gum, patch, etc.) intended for cessation.
2) Include significant enforcement provisions against illegal sales as research shows that consistent enforcement is of critical importance.
3) Not include any pre-emption against local authority in more stringent regulation of tobacco or other nicotine product sales, secondhand smoke, or e-cigarette vapor.
4) Ideally not include possession, usage, or purchase (PUP) penalties that result in criminal records, and instead place the onus on the purveyors of these addictive products.

We welcome your comments and suggestions: Contact Us