My name is McKayla Hoffman, and I am a current intern for the American Heart Association. I am also a student of Public Health at Oregon State University in Corvallis. As a college student, tobacco use among minors is something commonly seen on campus and in my social circle. It is far too easy in my smaller college town for underage students to obtain tobacco products from vendors and local stores. For these reasons, I am in support of passing SB 587 which would create a tobacco retail licensing program in Oregon.
I believe that enforcing tobacco retail licensure will grant minors partial innocence if sold tobacco before coming of age. The retailers should hold a majority of the responsibility for minors in possession. This issue is important as underage people will now be let off lighter, not facing complete backlash for the unaccountable sales of the merchants. Far too many students in my community have been sold such products, knowing the venue will permit it. In turn, they are the ones risking consequences.
As the oldest sibling in my family, I have firsthand experience with the sale of tobacco products to minors. My younger sister, who is almost 19 years old, has been able to purchase e-cigarettes and similar merchandise for several years now. Witnessing how easy it is for her to obtain these items from convenience stores is highly frustrating, as there have been no repercussions for those selling to her. With the support and passing of SB 587, my sister, along with many other minors becoming addicted to nicotine products and the ease of getting a hold of them, would have no large chance in being able to continue such habits.
hero_image_alt_text===A picture of a puff bar which is a vaping device
thumbnail_alt_text===A picture of a puff bar which is a vaping device