Oregon lawmakers want to raise tobacco purchase age

Salem, Ore. – There’s a possibility Oregon could raise the tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21.

The Statesman Journal reports Democrat senator Elizabeth Steiner announced she will soon introduce legislation backed by the American Cancer Society  that would prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone younger than 21.

The bill is said to have strong bipartisan support.

California and Hawaii already have the requirement, but a similar bill failed in Washington last year.

According to the American Cancer Society, around 1,800 Oregon kids become new daily smokers.

Dr. Brian Druker, director of the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Center, said, “This bill will decrease the number of people who start smoking in our state by about 20 percent, and that translates into 1,000 lives saved per year.”

The bill would impose no punishment on youth caught with tobacco products, but instead impose a penalty for retailers selling to underage purchasers.

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