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Oregonians Could Vote On Tobacco Tax Hike

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Oregonians could vote next year on whether to increase taxes on cigarettes and cigars. A legislative committee advanced a measure Tuesday that would hike the tobacco tax, and create a new tax on vaping products.

If House Bill 2270 is approved, the taxes would go before voters in November, 2020. Supporters said the money would go toward important public health programs as well as discourage use of tobacco products.

But Rep. Werner Reschke, R-Klamath Falls, said taxing e-cigarettes was a mistake. “If we think this is now going to slow vaping for those underage, we’re kidding ourselves. This business is going underground,” he said.

The last time lawmakers sent a cigarette tax hike to Oregon voters, it was soundly defeated. The 2007 campaign featured heavy spending by the tobacco industry.

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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