House Committee Focuses on Public Health with Increased Tobacco Tax, Greater Access to Affordable Health Care
The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote today on legislation that if enacted would greatly improve public health.
PORTLAND, Ore.— On Tuesday, Oregonians passed Measure 108 to raise the cigarette tax by $2 per pack and tax e-cigarettes for the first time in Oregon. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) was one of the leading health care organizations working as part of the Yes on 108 campaign. Jamie Dunphy, Oregon government relations director for ACS CAN, released the following statement:
"This is a great victory for public health and tobacco control efforts in Oregon that will save thousands of lives and reduce the devastating toll of tobacco use on our families and communities. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, but with this vote, Oregonians have taken a critical step forward.
"By finally taxing e-cigarettes in Oregon, we can protect young people from being targeted into a lifetime addiction by the tobacco industry. This intervention is critical as research shows youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking cigarettes, and youth use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed. Passing Measure 108 also raises Oregon’s cigarette tax by a high enough amount to reduce smoking for the first time in nearly two decades. We know that making all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, more expensive helps people quit and keeps young people from starting to smoke. In fact, the cigarette tax is projected to keep nearly 19,000 kids and young adults from smoking, while saving nearly 12,000 Oregon lives from a premature death. By acting now, we will save lives and protect future generations.
“Tobacco use also devastates us financially. This new tobacco tax is a win-win: It will lower health care costs for everyone, while funding crucial tobacco prevention and cessation programs to help us further reduce tobacco use and provide access to health care for men, women and children on the Oregon Health Plan at a time when access to care is more important than ever.
"ACS CAN is grateful to all our volunteers for their commitment to this lifesaving Measure, and we are thrilled that Oregon voters supported public health efforts to protect kids, save lives and create a healthier future."
When it takes effect on January 1, Oregon’s new cigarette tax will increase from $1.33 per pack, currently 32nd in the nation and below the national average, to $3.33 per pack, the highest on the West Coast and 6th highest in the nation.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org. ACS CAN is part of a broad coalition supporting Yes for a Healthy Future committee. 330 S Curry St. Portland, OR 97239.