Beginning Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, the tax on cigarettes will increase by $2 per pack and e-cigarettes will be taxed for the first time in Oregon, after voters overwhelming approved Measure 108 in November 2020. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) was one of the leading health organizations working as part of the Yes on 108 campaign to pass Measure 108.
Oregon’s cigarette tax will now be $3.33 per pack, the sixth highest in the nation and the highest on the West Coast. Significantly raising the price of all tobacco products is proven to reduce use, and this new cigarette tax is projected to save nearly 12,000 Oregon lives and keep nearly 19,000 kids and young adults from starting to smoke.
“This is the most significant cigarette tax increase in Oregon history that will reduce smoking rates. And by finally taxing e-cigarettes, we can fight the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use and take a critical step forward to protect young people from being targeted by the tobacco industry into a lifetime addiction,” said Jamie Dunphy, Oregon government relations director for ACS CAN. “This is a major victory for everyone because we know that tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death.”
ACS CAN encourages Oregonians who want to quit using tobacco to contact the state’s Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or online at quitnow.net/Oregon. En Espanol at 1-800-1-855-DEJELO-YA or quitnow.net/Oregonsp.
In addition to saving lives, this cigarette tax increase is projected to raise nearly $135 million in annual revenue, according to projections from ACS CAN, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and Tobacconomics. This new revenue will provide access to health care on the Oregon Health Plan at a time when health care coverage is critical, and fund the state’s tobacco prevention and cessation programs to help people quit tobacco successfully. Oregon’s tobacco control program is funded at just 25.6% of the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This new tobacco tax is a triple win: it will save lives, fund lifesaving health care programs and reduce health care costs for everyone,” Dunphy continued. Smoking currently costs the state $1.54 billion in annual health care costs including $347.6 million in Medicaid costs. Each Oregon household pays $736 in taxes to offset these smoking-related costs.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.