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Advocates Urge Legislators to Raise Age for Tobacco Sales to 21

 

On February 2nd the American Heart Association along with 22 other organizations united at the Capitol to urge legislators to protect kids from tobacco by raising the tobacco purchase age to 21.

It is estimated that if smoking rates don’t decline 68,000 Oregon children alive today will die prematurely from tobacco use and exposure.

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in Oregon and raising the tobacco purchasing age will help change this. National data indicates that 95% of adult smokers start before age 21.

Physician and State Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward and State Representative Barbara Smith Warner joined advocates to voice their support of the legislation. Steiner Hayward spoke about addiction and how she knows from her medical training that the younger someone starts smoking, the more difficult it is for them to quit. She believes that raising the purchase age is one critical way to combat nicotine addiction and ultimately prevent the 7,000 deaths each year in Oregon from tobacco use.

Overall, it was a great day at the capitol and we are so grateful to everyone who joined us. We hope we can count on your support as we continue to work on this important legislation. If legislation passes, Oregon will join Hawaii and over 110 cities in changing the legal purchase age for tobacco to 21.

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