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.
“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.”
Still, tobacco use remains the top preventable cause of death and disease in Oregon.
More than 7,000 users die each year.