Bend Smoke Store Owner Welcomes Oregon Allowing Tobacco and E-Cigarette Retailers to Reduce Youth Use

Repeated illegal sales could result in loss of license

(Update: added video, comments from tobacco business owner)

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – It will be easier to prevent commercial tobacco sales and marketing to youth in Oregon starting in January, as the state enacts a licensing program for tobacco sales and of electronic cigarettes.

Earlier this year, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 587, which requires retailers to obtain a license to sell tobacco products and e-cigarettes, starting in 2022. The Oregon Department of Revenue and the Oregon Health Authority are developing the program as part of the a comprehensive strategy to reduce tobacco use among youth and strengthen state law enforcement. tobacco laws.

Rich Johnson has been in the tobacco retail business for approximately 18 years. He owns Midtown Direct Smoke Shop in Bend and knows that e-cigarettes have become widely used among teenagers.

“We need to keep the vapors out of the hands of children. I don’t think there is any question whatsoever about it, and all it takes to make that happen is great, ”Johnson said.

Johnson believes the app needs to be local.

“I think there is a huge opportunity for Bend to have a local compliance officer take care of it,” he said. “I guarantee it will be more efficient than the state, because the state, with the number of people and resources – – it’s hard,” he said.

Karen Ard, Deschutes County Health Services Education and Prevention Program Coordinator, provided NewsChannel 21 with information on smoking among area youth.

About 9 in 10 adults who smoke daily report starting before the age of 18.

Among grade 11 students, self-reported use of e-cigarettes, vape pens, or e-hookahs increased from 19.2% in 2016 to 29.4% in 2018.

In 2018, Deschutes County grade 11 students reported using all tobacco products (e-cigarettes, mods, vape pens, cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, hookah, snus, snuff, pipe tobacco) more than the state average of their peers across Oregon.

Here’s the rest of the state’s press release on upcoming retail licenses:

“Everyone deserves a fair and equitable opportunity to be as healthy as possible – and that includes a life free from commercial tobacco addiction,” said Rachael Banks, director of the OHA’s public health division. “Our children deserve strong protection from commercial tobacco products, such as cigarettes and electronic cigarettes. Oregon State’s New Tobacco Retail License Will Reduce Youth Access to Commercial Tobacco by Helping Retailers Adhere to Tobacco Sales Laws and Holding Retailers Accountable illegal sales.

Licensing allows the state to monitor the number, location and density of tobacco retailers in a community. The state can then educate retailers about tobacco sales laws, set up an inspection program to verify compliance, and apply penalties if a retailer repeatedly breaks the law, including removing the capacity of the retailer selling tobacco.

In 2019, 23% of Oregon 11e-Reviewers reported using an e-cigarette product with nicotine, and one in five state-inspected retailers illegally sold e-cigarettes to someone under the age of 21. Local tobacco retail licensing programs were already in place, such as those in Multnomah, Clatsop, and Klamath counties, can continue, in close coordination with the state program.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Surgeon General, actually enforced clearance programs can reduce tobacco use among young people. A study of 33 communities has shown dramatic declines in youth tobacco sales since it demanded retail tobacco licenses. Prior to SB 587, Oregon was one of seven states in the United States that did not require retailers to be licensed.

“Protecting young people from the onset of vaping and other tobacco products is essential,” said Nadia LeMay, a health strategist with the Crook County Health Department, who was part of the coalition advocating the passage of SB 587. “Oregon finally has a way to enforce sales and marketing laws and prevent tobacco from falling into the hands of those under the age of 21.”

The OHA is developing rules to launch the new tobacco retail licensing program and is seeking community partners to sit on a rules advisory committee. People in the communities who will be most affected by these rules, including those the tobacco industry as well as tobacco retailers have targeted, are encouraged to apply. If you are interested in nominating yourself as a member of the Rules Advisory Committee, complete the application form located here before Sunday October 10.

The new law will take effect on January 1, 2022. To sign up for email updates on commercial tobacco products from the Oregon Department of Revenue, visit

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