As Measure 44 Turns 20, Health Advocates Discuss Further Anti-Smoking Efforts

May 19, 2017

Anti-tobacco advocates gathered in Cottage Grove today to mark 20 years of legislation aimed at smoking prevention.

Credit Quinn Dombrowski /

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.

Governor Kate Brown, at today's event in Cottage Grove where further tobacco prevention tactics were shared.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

“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.”

Anti-smoking bracelets handed out at today's Cottage Grove event.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Still, tobacco use remains the top preventable cause of death and disease in Oregon. 

More than 7,000 users die each year.