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As Measure 44 Turns 20, Health Advocates Discuss Further Anti-Smoking Efforts

Quinn Dombrowski

Anti-tobacco advocates gathered in Cottage Grove today to mark 20 years of legislation aimed at smoking prevention.

Governor Kate Brown - along with members of the Oregon Health Authority- say it’s been 20 years since voters approved Measure 44.  It raised the price of tobacco and steered some tobacco tax sales revenue towards prevention programs.

As a result, cigarette pack sales have dropped by more than 55 percent.  Governor Brown says pending legislation will help even more by raising the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Governor Kate Brown, at today's event in Cottage Grove where further tobacco prevention tactics were shared.

“T-21," says Brown.  "My understanding is the bill’s coming to the House floor, and I’m cautiously optimistic it’s going to pass.

"So I look forward to signing that bill into law.

"But I also think community engagement efforts are absolutely crucial," adds Brown.  

"The city, the county, youth advisory councils…all to discourage people from starting to smoke in the first place.”

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Anti-smoking bracelets handed out at today's Cottage Grove event.

Still, tobacco use remains the top preventable cause of death and disease in Oregon. 

More than 7,000 users die each year.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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