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Oregon Lawmaker Wants To License Tobacco Retailers

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Oregon is the only Northwest state that doesn't require businesses selling tobacco products to be licensed. One lawmaker is introducing a bill that would change that.

Democratic Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson said as a public health nurse, she's seen the damage caused by tobacco addiction. And she said that addiction often starts at an early age.

But enforcement of underage tobacco sales in Oregon is limited. Monnes Anderson said that's in part because the state has no way to track where tobacco is being sold.

"When you have a license, that would bring revenue in to pay for it,” Monnes Anderson said. “Right now, we really don't have a very robust enforcement mechanism."

Monnes Anderson's bill would allow the state to charge up to $300 per license. A similar effort failed last year, but Monnes Anderson said this year's version has fewer restrictions on where a tobacco retailer can be located. She thinks that compromise may help the bill to pass.

The measure will be considered during the 2016 legislative session beginning February 1. An interim committee will take public comments on the proposal Wednesday morning beginning at 9 a.m. in Hearing Room A at the Capitol.

Copyright 2016 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.