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New law requires Oregon tobacco retailers to be licensed

Chris Lehman
Tobacco retailers, including those that specialize in vaping products, will need to apply for a new state retail license. File photo of a retailer in Keizer, Oregon.

Tobacco retailers in Oregon must now be licensed. That’s because of a new law that took effect this month.

Thenew license costs $953 a year and applies to stores that sell tobacco of any kind, including vaping products. The money will go toward education programs to prevent underage tobacco use, as well as increased enforcement of age limits.

Dr. Tom Jeanne, an epidemiologist with the Oregon Health Authority, said now that the state can potentially revoke a license, he expects retailers will be extra careful in making sure they only sell to adults.

“With the training, the education and having those actual consequences to retailers who are not complying, we really feel that this is going to make a big difference and greatly reduce underage access to tobacco,” he said.

The fee doesn’t apply to retailers on tribal lands, or in places that already have a licensing system for tobacco retailers. That includes the city of Eugene as well as four Oregon counties: Benton, Clatsop, Klamath and Multnomah.

As of Monday, the Oregon Department of Revenue said it had issued 1,883 licenses.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018 and became News Director in March, 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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