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Why Oregon Advocates Want Flavored Tobacco Banned

Rachel Monahan
Posted on August 3
image of lungs

Oregon has worked to prevent tobacco addiction, but it hasn't banned flavored smokes. (Getty Images/Peter Dazeley)

A recent survey by the American Lung Association showed Oregon to be a leader in preventing smoking. But the state got an F when it came to the use of flavored tobacco. I asked Jamie Dunphy, an Oregon lobbyist for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network why the group was working to pass a ban on flavored tobacco statewide (it didn’t happen this session). Already Washington and Multnomah counties have passed such a ban, though Washington County’s is on hold after a legal challenge.

Is tobacco use still a problem in Oregon?

"Tobacco-related illness is the number one cause of preventable death in Oregon, and it's higher than the next six types of preventable death combined. That's drug use, alcohol, obesity, car crashes, weapons, and the flu. Over 8,000 people died from tobacco-related illness last year in Oregon alone."

Why are flavored tobacco products a problem?

“The tobacco industry [uses] the flavor in order to try and make it taste palatable and hook a new generation of addicts.

“95% of adults who smoke report that they started before they could legally buy them themselves.

“But of those same adults, fewer than 25% report using any form of a flavored product regularly, whereas 80% of children under the age of 21 report exclusively using a flavored product.”

Would statewide legislation impact the Washington County lawsuit?

“We're very confident that the Washington County lawyers are going to be successful in their appeal. But in the meantime, a statewide policy would make that question moot.”

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