New Oregon tobacco law limits young smokers - KPTV - FOX 12

New Oregon tobacco law limits young smokers

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Any smokers 20 and under may be stocking up before a new state rule goes into effect at midnight.

The new tobacco law taking effect in Oregon on January 1 will require a person to be 21 years old in order to buy tobacco products. The new measure also establishes a range of fines from $50 to $1,000 for people or business that sell tobacco to people under 21 years old.

Oregon is the fifth state to raise the tobacco age, and supporters say the change will save lives, and cut early bad habits.

Opponents challenge that assumption, claiming that the change won’t stop teens from getting their hands on cigarettes.

Troy Wines was shopping at Timber Valley Tobaccos in Beaverton Sunday and told FOX 12 he did not believe the tighter restrictions would change anything.

“I think it’s wrong,” Wines said. “If you can go to war, you can vote, you can do all wait till you turn 18 to get some type of freedom and they want to take it away from you. I don’t think it’s right.”

An 18-year-old buying cigarettes at shop agreed, and while he wanted to remain anonymous, he said it would still be simple for those who are underage to get tobacco products.

“Just have a friend pick it up. I mean it’s not gonna change anything for anyone who smokes," he said. "It’s not like you want to stop because it’s illegal now."

While employees at the store didn’t want to go on camera, they did say they don’t believe the new law will hurt business too much.

People and organizations in support of the change contend it will save lives.

The American Lung Association launched Tobacco 21: an initiative to increase the age of sale to 21 nationwide. Raising the minimum sale age, the organization claims, could save as many as 223,000 lives for babies born between 2000 and 2019.

The organization also claims tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States.“I think that maybe it’ll benefit the youth of not being able to get their hands on it as soon,” Kelsey Conkling, who supports the new law, .said.

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