Youth Vaping, Flavored Tobacco Products Threaten Progress on Policies to Reduce Tobacco Use in Oregon

New report reveals Oregon tobacco control successes over past 20 years, and outlines path to end tobacco use and save lives.

The American Lung Association’s 20th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, released today, reveals significant progress in the work to end tobacco use, but products like e-cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, create concern for losing another generation to nicotine addiction. The report finds that Oregon continues to improve on progress to reduce and prevent tobacco use, including e-cigarettes. 

The “State of Tobacco Control” report evaluates state and federal policymakers on actions taken to eliminate tobacco use, the nation’s leading cause of preventable death. The report recommends proven-effective tobacco control laws and policies to save lives. The 2022 “State of Tobacco Control” reveals that the country has made substantial progress in advancing tobacco control policies over the past 20 years, including comprehensive smokefree laws in more states, increased tobacco taxes across the nation and more Americans with access to treatments to help them quit smoking through state Medicaid programs. 

Oregon has made significant strides to reduce tobacco use, like implementing clean indoor air protections and raising tobacco taxes via Measure 108. However, there is more work to be done. The adult smoking rate is 13.3%, and the high school tobacco use rate is 23.1%. 

“While we have seen considerable progress in Oregon, tobacco use remains our leading cause of preventable death and disease, taking an estimated 5,470 lives each year,” said Carrie Nyssen, Senior Director of Advocacy at the American Lung Association in Oregon. “And our progress on tobacco control policy has not been equal. We continue to see the unequal burden of tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke in communities experiencing health disparities.”

Oregon’s Grades 

“State of Tobacco Control” 2022 grades states and the District of Columbia in five areas that have been proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives. Oregon received the following grades: 

1.    Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade A
2.    Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade A
3.    Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade C
4.    Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F 

This year’s report noted the need for Oregon policymakers to focus on ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. According to the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey, more than two million high school and middle school students use e-cigarettes, and over 80% of those kids use flavored e-cigarettes. In addition, menthol cigarettes continue to be the major cause of tobacco-related death and disease in Black communities, with nearly 81% of Black Americans who smoke using them. Ending the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol, will not only help end youth vaping, but will also help address the disproportionate impact of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars have on many communities, including Black Americans, LGBTQ+ Americans and youth.  

“Kids follow the flavors, so ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products in Oregon is key to ending youth tobacco use. We call on all elected officials to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol, across Oregon,” said Nyssen.

Federal Grades Overview

“State of Tobacco Control” 2022 also grades the federal government in five areas: 

•    Federal Government Regulation of Tobacco Products (2022 grade – D)
•    Federal Coverage of Quit Smoking Treatments (2022 grade – D)
•    Level of Federal Tobacco Taxes (2022 grade – F)
•    Federal Mass Media Campaigns to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use (2022 grade – A)
•    Federal Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 (2022 grade – I*)

* The Incomplete grade is for the FDA being more than 18 months overdue in publishing the final Tobacco 21 regulations as required by statute.

“In 2022, Oregon needs to redouble its efforts to pass the proven policies called for in ‘State of Tobacco Control’ to help end tobacco use. We cannot afford to wait 20 more years and allow another generation to suffer from tobacco-caused addiction, disease and death,” said Nyssen.
 

For more information, contact:

Oregon Media Contact

[email protected]

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