PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon lawmakers are discussing a bill that would ban the sale of flavored tobacco and e-cigarettes, or vaping products statewide. Supporters of the bill say they want to prevent teenagers from getting addicted, while opponents claim the bill will only hurt adults, who use the products legally.
House Bill 3090 does what other bills haven’t. It aims it’s sights on a statewide ban of flavored nicotine and vaping products.
This bill comes on the heels of a report from the American Cancer Society which claims over 26,000 Oregonians will be diagnosed with cancer this year. According to the report, smoking causes 30 percent of all cancer deaths in this country.
Long have Oregon legislators tried to ban the sale of vaping devices, or flavored tobacco but Jamie Dunphy, a spokesperson for the ACS, says this bill is different.
“A statewide policy like this is something that we know that data shows we can dramatically reduce youth consumption by providing a blanket policy to protect children functionally to protect people from the predatory actions of the tobacco industry,” said Dunphy.
Dunphy says HB 3090 has bipartisan support and is also broadly popular with the public, adding that Washington County already passed a ban on flavored nicotine products in 2022, though it was later struck down by a circuit judge.
These products target kids and the tobacco companies prey on their affinity for flavors, Dunphy claims.
According to Dunphy, 80 percent of kids under 21 who use tobacco or nicotine products say they exclusively use a flavored product, with 85 percent reported saying that’s how they started using these products in the first place.
Dunphy said policies elsehwere in the U.S. show that banning these products does stop kids from getting their hands on them.
“We know that these are proven policies,” said Dunphy. “We have over 300 local jurisdictions and nine U.S. states that have implemented some form of a flavored tobacco ban — and they work. We know that we can prevent children from trying these products for the first time by removing flavored products from the shelves.”
He relents that vaping is not as harmful as smoking, but adds that it is far from harmless.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health named nicotine one of the five most addictive substances along with heroin, meth, cocaine and alcohol.
In the next 6 months, Dunphy expects sponsors of the bill to try and push it through the Oregon House and Senate.