PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon voters will soon decide whether to raise state cigarette taxes and, for the first time, tax e-cigarettes and vaping products.

State lawmakers passed Measure 108 but referred it to the public for a vote. If passed, it would raise Oregon’s cigarette tax from 32nd-highest in the nation to 6th-highest.

The most controversial part of Measure 108 is that it would allow the state to start taxing e-cigarettes and vaping products at 65% of the wholesale price — just like cigars. Supporters of the plan claim that would discourage use, especially among teens. Opponents say it would shut down some small businesses.

“We can take the ability for kids to stop getting them so easily to make it more expensive and dedicate dollars from those sales to public health,” said Jamie Dunphy of the American Cancer Society.

But Jason Weber who runs Vape Crusaders said “65% is an awful lot and it’s not just one thing, but on everything. When that’s more than what a store profits it will put, in my guesstimation, 95% of us out of business.”

Measure 108 would raise the state cigarette tax another $2 per pack. Currently, that tax is $1.33 per pack. Most of the tax money would go to the Oregon Health Plan, which provides medical care for low income Oregonians.

Specific Details of Measure 108

Information from Ballotpedia: Oregon Measure 108, the Tobacco and E-Cigarette Tax Increase for Health Programs Measure, is on the ballot in Oregon as a legislatively referred state statute on November 3, 2020.

Increases cigarette and cigar taxes. Establishes tax on e-cigarettes and nicotine vaping devices. Funds health programs.

Result of ‘Yes’ Vote: ‘Yes’ vote increases cigarette tax by $2 per pack. Increases cap on cigar taxes to $1 per cigar. Establishes tax on nicotine inhalant delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes and vaping products. Funds health programs. Approves other provisions.

Result of ‘No’ Vote: ‘No’ vote retains current law. Cigarettes are taxed at current rate of $1.33 per pack. Tax on cigars is capped at 50 cents per cigar. Nicotine inhalant delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes and vaping products, remain untaxed.

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