Lane County’s Board of Commissioners wants to raise the tobacco sale age to 21. Earlier this month the board asked staff to develop a policy proposal. Local efforts may be a precursor to a statewide initiative.
If the County raises the tobacco buying age to 21, it would be the first municipality in the state to do so.
Luis Rodriguez is with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, which leads the Tobacco 21 For Oregon coalition.
Rodriguez: “The most significant effect of this policy is on younger teens, and those are the people that are most susceptible to big tobacco’s marketing, those are the people that are going to be the most susceptible to the addictive nature of nicotine.”
Rodriguez says the vast majority of daily smokers begin before 18—and almost all of them start before they turn 21. He says in Lane County 143-million dollars is spent per year on health care costs related to tobacco use.
Rodriguez says the coalition has growing support for a law to raise the tobacco purchasing age statewide in 2017.