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Tobacco Prevention in Lane County

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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 about $1,770 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 Friday May 19, 2017, Governor Kate Brown will be holding a press conference in Cottage Grove to mark the progress Oregon has made in the last 20 years for protecting kids from tobacco. Lane County will be recognized for its success and leadership in tobacco prevention.  Some of Lane County’s accomplishments include: a strong Indoor Clean Air Act, 100% tobacco-free k-12 schools, and increasing the sales age of tobacco to 21.  The event will be held at Cottage Grove High School, Library 1375 River Rd at 1:30 pm.

Congratulations to the Siuslaw Public Library for contributing to the health of their community by creating a tobacco-free campus! On Wednesday March 15, the Siuslaw Public Library Board decided to designate the Florence campus of the Library District as smoke and tobacco free. The new policy will take effect on April 15th.

Beginning on April 13th, 2017, people under the age of 21 will no longer be able to purchase tobacco products.  On March 14th, 2017, the Board of Health voted 3-2 on increasing the sale age of tobacco to 21.  Lane County is the first county in the state of Oregon to pass such an ordinance.  For more information on the ordinance click here.

Lane County parks are now smoke and tobacco free! On Tuesday January 24th, 2017, the Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 on restricting smoking and tobacco use in all Lane County parks. The adopted ordinance includes an exemption for tobacco use by Native American tribes as well as an exemption for designated campsites. Public education regarding the new rule will be the primary focus of parks staff during the next 18 months. Formal enforcement will begin July 2018. Currently, Lane County operates 73 parks and open spaces, including five with developed overnight campgrounds, three marinas, and a large number of boat ramps.

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.

FDA deeming rules went into effect on August 8th, 2016. Checkout the summary of the federal rules on selling tobacco products.  Click here.