Oregon Health Equity Alliances urges Multnomah County Commissioners to implement strong tobacco control policies that prevent and reduce youth from initiation and use of tobacco and nicotine

Portland, OR – Upstream Public Health, Urban League of Portland, Oregon Latino Health Coalition, Center for Intercultural Organizing and Asian Family Health Services as members of the Oregon Health Equity Alliance will present to Multnomah County Commissioners on December 18, 2014 at 9:15AM about preliminary recommendations of tobacco control policies that are doable and within their obligations to prevent and reduce tobacco and nicotine use among youth.

Over the summer, we conducted a comprehensive tobacco retail environment assessment. We’ve identified 670 potential tobacco retailers in Multnomah County and randomly selected 528 retailers to assess to learn more about how tobacco products are placed, promoted and sold in the community. These findings were a basis for creating draft policy recommendations to address excessive tobacco and nicotine access and use by youth. Oregon Health Equity Alliance recommends the following:

• Retail licensing system
• Set an age restriction for e-cigs
• Update the Indoor Clean Air Act to include e-cigarettes
• Restrict retailers near schools
• Tax e-cigs

High prevalence of tobacco use among youth is a daunting problem for every state in America and Oregon is no stranger to that problem. In fact, Oregon, for the past three years, led the nation with the highest illegal sales rate of tobacco not to mention, 9.4 percent of high school students smoke, 5,500 deaths are caused by smoking each year and over $1.50 billion are spent annually on smoking related health care cost. Furthermore, Oregon received $342 million total tobacco revenue, yet only spent $9.9
million on tobacco prevention and cessation programs despite the CDC recommendation of $39.3 million as an adequate spending on tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

In contrast, tobacco companies annually spend $108.4 million on marketing in state and most of that is spent at the point of sale which is a variety of deceptive marketing practices, including advertisement signs inside or outside retail stores, shelving displays, coupons and other price discounts that reduce the price for the customer. In addition, tobacco companies specifically target youth, communities of lowincome
and communities of color and their youth to addict to certain products and brands. For example, Menthol or mentholated cigarettes are multi-purpose products for tobacco companies; it is easier to smoke and harder to quit. More also, it is used to hook youth, first time smokers and is disproportionately smoked by African Americans.

As public health advocates and community-based organizations, we believe that everyone deserves to be healthy and that it is our moral obligation to protect our low-income and underserved communities from the harms of tobacco and nicotine.

When: December 18, 2014 at 9:15 AM
Where: Multnomah County
501 SE Hawthorne, Portland, OR

Alberto Moreno, Executive Director, Oregon Latino Health Coalition
Midge Purcell, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, Urban League of Portland
Kayse Jama, Executive Director, Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO)
Nafisa Fai, Program Manager, Upstream Public Health

Oregon Health Equity Alliance

The Oregon Health Equity Coalition (OHEA) is governed by a 10 member steering committee, representing a diverse group of organizations who specifically work on health equity advocacy statewide and engage with over 14,000 constituents facing health inequities in the 3 county region. The steering committee meets monthly. Current members include:

• Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO)
• Causa Oregon (Causa)
• Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO)
• Oregon Action (OA)
• Oregon Latino Health Coalition (OLHC)
• Upstream Public Health (Upstream)
• Urban League of Portland (ULPDX)

OHEA is a regional partnership of diverse health equity advocates, open to organizations who serve constituents facing health inequities in the 3 county region of Clackamas, Washington and Multnomah counties. We have established a diverse, dynamic and effective coalition of 33 member organizations, and adopted a 5-year Regional Health Equity Plan.

For more information contact Nafisa Fai, Program Manager, 503-284-6390

News source: