1. Raise the legal age of sale for tobacco products to 21 years old;
2. Defend Oregon's smokefree workplace law; and
3. Maintain funding for Oregon's tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
During Oregon's 2016 short 32-day legislative session several tobacco-related bills were discussed and given hearings.
Oregon is one of a few states without a retail licensing system for businesses selling tobacco products. Senate Bill 1559 was introduced to establish a licensing system with fees for tobacco retailers. Hearings were held, but the short session didn't allow for time to move the bill to the floors of the House of Representatives and Senate for votes.
Oregon legislators continued their discussions and proposals for the taxation of electronic smoking devices. No legislation was passed and this will remain an interest of legislators and stakeholders for the 2017 legislative session.
Increasing the minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21 is garnering support around the state. Senator Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward is championing this policy and will be introducing legislation in 2017 for consideration. Momentum and support for this policy is growing with several local governments, including the city of Portland, showing support through consideration of their own local "Tobacco 21" policies.
In 2017, the Oregon legislature will be seeking solutions to address budget shortfalls which heightens the need for strong advocacy to maintain the current level of funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. Gov. Kate Brown's budget proposes an 85 cent increase in the tax on cigarettes. The American Lung Association in Oregon will be supporting a meaningful increase in this tax with a portion of the new revenue to support prevention and quit smoking programs.