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Tobacco Prevention in Lane County


About Tobacco Prevention

The Tobacco Prevention and Education Program in Lane County Public Health was established in 1997 as a result of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and the passing of Oregon Ballot Measure 44. In 1996, Oregon voters approved the Oregon Cigarette and Tobacco Taxes Act, also known as Measure 44, which raised taxes on cigarettes and dedicated a portion of the revenue to tobacco prevention. In 1998, Attorney Generals from forty-six states, five U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia made a master settle agreement with five of the largest tobacco companies on the marketing, advertising, and promotion of tobacco products.  Currently, funds from the tobacco master settlement agreement are being used to create tobacco retail licensing policies and increasing the tobacco sales age to 21.

Goals of Tobacco Prevention

The Tobacco Prevention & Education Program (TPEP) in Lane County aims to reduce tobacco-related illness and death. TPEP seeks to do this by working with community partners to achieve the following goals:

  • Prevent youth from initiating tobacco use.
  • Identify and eliminate tobacco-related disparities in all populations.
  • Provide help to everyone who wants to quit smoking or using tobacco.

Burden of Tobacco in Lane County

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death.  Each year in Lane County, tobacco use kills 720 people.  That means about 1 in 4 deaths are caused by tobacco use.  It claims more lives than motor vehicle crashes, suicide, HIV/AIDS, and murders combined.

There are 59,200 adults in Lane County who smoke cigarettes regularly.  That means more than 1 in 5 county residents smoke.  That is more than the capacity that can fit into Autzen Stadium.

There are 14,068 people in the county who suffer from a serious illness caused by tobacco.  That is about the same as the combined populations of the Cities of Cottage Grove and Creswell.

Lane County residents pay over $258 million every year in direct medical expenditures and lost productivity due to early deaths from tobacco use.  That equals $1,775 per household every year.

What Works

The following strategies are effective and sustainable tobacco control interventions:

  • Increase the number of smoke and tobacco-free environments.
  • Increase the price of tobacco.
  • Reduce the Tobacco Industry influence in retail stores.
  • Provide support to those addicted to nicotine/tobacco who want to quit.

Tobacco News

On January 24th, the Board of Commissioners will be holding a public hearing on a Tobacco-Free County Parks policy at 1:30 pm.  This will be a second reading and final vote on the policy.  The current draft policy includes an exemption allowing smoking in campsites. There will be an opportunity to voice your opinion at the meeting at Harris Hall at the Public Service Building 125 E. 8th Ave. Or email the Commissioners at [email protected] If 1:30pm is not a good time, it is also possible to provide input at 9am.

The Tobacco 21 public meetings were a huge success! Lane County Public Health would like to thank the cities of Cottage Grove, Oakridge, Florence, Eugene, and Springfield for hosting the meetings. We also would like to thank our community partners Trillium, PeaceHealth, United Way of Lane County, and Orchid Health for their support. The information from the public meetings will be used to inform the Board of Health on the proposed policy at the November 29th meeting.

Congratulations to the City of Veneta! On Monday September 12th, 2016, the City of Veneta passed a tobacco retail license ordinance.  This is a great step forward in protecting children from a lifelong addiction to tobacco.

Lane County is considering changing the age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21.  Public meetings are being held in Cottage Grove, Oakridge, Florence, Eugene, and Springfield all throughout the month of September.  Click here to register.

FDA deeming rules went into effect on August 8th. Checkout the summary of the federal rules on selling tobacco products.  Click here.