Oregon Lawmakers Consider Making Tobacco Illegal Until Age 21

Mar 20, 2017
Originally published on March 17, 2017 3:35 pm

The campaign to increase the age for buying and using tobacco to 21 is moving around the nation.

California and Hawaii already have statewide laws and Oregon politicians are scheduled to consider the legislation this week.

Sharon Meieran is both an emergency room doctor and a commissioner with Multnomah County. She’s waiting for state legislators to act, and if they don’t, she says she’ll move forward with the idea locally.

“I see the human impact of the consequences of tobacco addiction very up close and personal. An 18-year-old may look like a 21-year-old, but their brain is in a different stage of development. Smoking at that age sets a course for lifelong addiction,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the vast majority of adults who smoke tobacco products started before they were 19. Calls and emails to tobacco manufacturers were not immediately returned.

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