OR governor signs bill hiking legal smoking age to 21

Oregon Raises Tobacco Age to 21

Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law a bill that raises the legal smoking age to 21 in the state.

The new law "Increases from 18 to 21 years old the minimum age to purchase tobacco and nicotine products", as well as "inhalant delivery systems" (such as e-cigarettes) and establishes "a set of fines ranging from $250-$1,000 for individuals or businesses that distribute or sell" these products to "persons under 21 years of age".

The current age limit in the state is 18.

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The state joins neighboring California as well as Hawaii, New Jersey and ME on the list of those that have recently raised their smoking age to 21, part of a nationwide movement to reduce tobacco use among younger Americans.

Lawmakers who approved the bill during this year's legislative session said the goal is to prevent young people from starting a habit that's unhealthy and hard to break.

Smoking in the US has declined from 20.9% of adults being smokers in 2005 to 15.1% in 2015.

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Rob Crane, President of Tobacco21, which advocates for raising the smoking age to 21, said that stopping people from trying tobacco early may help prevent addiction down the road. Carter, the first black woman elected to the Oregon Legislature, argued to lawmakers that raising the legal age could prompt racial profiling of minority youth, according to the alt-weekly article.

"If we can avoid addiction setting in at this younger age, we are less likely to see people start to become addicted to a substance that can have lifelong ill-effects on health", Angie Gerard, director of Malheur County Health Department, told the Argus Observer. He works as an Online Marketing Consultant for Consultwebs, providing web marketing services for several attorneys.

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