To the editor:

Oregon kids have easy access to tobacco. That’s not surprising since e-cigarettes aren’t taxed in Oregon and our cigarette tax is below average. Cheap tobacco is one reason why 2,100 Oregon kids will become new daily smokers this year. I want to protect Oregon’s kids from a lifetime of addiction that can cause cancer and early death. We can do that by raising the tax on cigarettes and all other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Kids are price sensitive and this will prevent them from starting.

Years of tobacco use due to the addicting quality of tobacco often times leads to COPD, emphysema and cancer. As a pharmacist, I see the very expensive prices insurance companies and the Oregon Health Plan pay for the treatment of medical conditions caused by tobacco use. Also, the cost of anti-smoking products are high and often patients fail treatment.

I’m encouraged by talks in the Capitol to raise the state’s tobacco tax. Lawmakers have proposed a $2 per pack cigarette tax increase and an equal tax on e-cigarettes and all other tobacco products. It would keep over 19,000 Oregon kids from becoming new smokers.

If a tax increase could keep just one kid from picking up a cigarette, it’d be worth it to me. Knowing it could help thousands of kids makes this is a no-brainer.

As an American Cancer Society Cancer Action Volunteer, I urge Senator Bill Hansel to support a tobacco tax increase.

Marilyn Wong

The Dalles

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