Proposed Bill Would Leave Tobacco Tax Up To Individual Counties

, Written by Kyle Aevermann, Posted: Fri, April 5 2013 at 5:55 PM, Updated: Fri, April 5 2013 at 10:28 PM

A proposed bill is working it's way through to the Oregon State Senate.

If approved, it would allow each of Oregon's 36 counties to set the tax for cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The idea is to have a tax that could potentially help economically struggling counties.

Tony Nordheim has been smoking for nearly 40 years.

She says she's seen her fair share of increases when it comes to tobacco products but says it really hasn't effected her habit.

"I can remember saying that when cigarette were 2 dollars a pack, I'd quit. It didn't happen," Nordheim told NBC 5.

On Thursday the state house passed bill 2870 by a slim margin of 31 to 29. Now it's on its way to the State Senate.

If approved the bill would give the authority to each county to decide how much they want to tax for tobacco products.

All House Republican's including Representative Dennis Richardson turned the bill down.

But those that do support it including Representative Peter Buckley say there are a number of positive impacts this bill could have.

40% of the tax would go toward smoking prevention programs, while the remaining 60% would go into a gernal county fund.

It's unclear when state senate will review the bill.

Currently the tax for a pack of cigarettes in Oregon is $1.18, nearly 30 cents cheaper than the national average.

About the Author

Kyle Aevermann

Kyle Aevermann reports weekdays and anchors NBC 5 News Weekends. He joined NBC 5 News in March 2012 as a morning producer and reporter. Prior to joining KOBI, Kyle interned at KISL-FM on Catalina Island, CA. He was also a regular contributor to CNN's citizen journalism program.

Originally from the Chicago-land area, Kyle moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2009 to work in the social media industry. Kyle enjoys hiking, traveling, learning about cultures, and has a serious love for food.

Catch Kyle anchoring weekends on NBC 5 News at 6pm and 11pm.

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