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Health and Medicine

Cigarette Taxes In Oregon Are Increasing In The New Year

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sipa via pixabay.com

Many tobacco smokers in Oregon will now have to pay higher taxes for cigarettes and e-cigarettes, put into effect January 1.

In November, Oregon voters passed a measure to increase taxes on cigarettes by two dollars a pack. The measure also approved the state’s first-ever tax on e-cigarettes.

Jamie Dunphy is with The American Cancer Society, which helped pass the measure. He believes this tax will deter people from smoking and save thousands of lives.

“By raising the taxes and modernizing them on par to where other states are or are going to be soon, we have the opportunity to prevent thousands of people from ever starting smoking and encourage thousands of people to make the decision to finally quit," Dunphy says.

Oregon’s cigarette tax will now be over three dollars per pack, making it the sixth highest in the nation and the highest on the West Coast. Many opponents say that this steep tax will just drive business to neighboring states and ultimately hurt local shop-owners.

The tax revenue will be mostly directed to state-funded healthcare programs, many of which have spent thousands of dollars on tobacco-related illnesses.

“Big tobacco intentionally targets teenagers, children, communities of color, and low income communities," says Dunphy. "These are all folks where two dollars may be the difference -- or at least enough of a motivator -- to never pick up a pack in the first place or decide not to do it.”

Cigarette taxes are being raised by two dollars per pack. E-cigarettes will now have a 65% tax. Previously, e-cigarettes were untaxed.