Tobacco Reduction Committee Passes Slender Budget, Expands Duties

Oregon’s Tobacco Reduction Advisory Committee approved a $19.7 million 2015-2017 budget, a little less than the $19.8 million in its 2013-2015 budget.

“We’re grateful for these resources but it’s still a quarter of what the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recommends for tobacco prevention,” said Luci Longoria, health promotion manager for the Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division.

Fighting Tobacco use in Oregon Uphill Battle

CCOs will be held accountable starting next year for reducing tobacco use.

Oregon’s Tobacco Reduction Advisory Committee started combing through a draft $19.7 million 2015-2017 budget, one that looks similar to the $19.8 million 2013-2015 budget with a few changes.

Oregon Putting All Its Declining Tobacco Settlement Funds into Health Expenses

The state is still putting less than 10 percent of the money toward tobacco prevention that it receives from Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds after they agreed to settle a 1998 lawsuit to avoid a court ruling. The state received just $158 million from the tobacco companies, down almost 25 percent from a $208 million payout in 2011.

For the first time, Oregon will use all of its $158 million biennial tobacco master settlement for healthcare-related expenses, and not divert the money to pay for other projects.

Senate Votes to Stop Using Tobacco Prevention Dollars to License Smoke Shops

The Oregon Senate voted 16-13 to make smoke shops pay a user fee to cover the cost of their own licensure. Inspections and certification has been covered by diverting funds from tobacco prevention to ensure that cigar bars and other tobacco outlets are complying with their exception to the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act.

It seems absurd on the surface. When the state passed its Clean Indoor Air Act in 2007, it gave an exception to cigar bars and other smoke shops that focus on tobacco to continue to light up in their businesses, so long as they were certified to sell primarily tobacco products and built a closed ventilation system to protect other businesses from hazardous secondhand smoke.

Tobacco Control Bills Are Dead, Clearing Way for County Tobacco Licensing

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A frustrated Sen. Mark Hass spiked two tobacco bills that had dominated his work in the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee after none of the stakeholders would reach a reasonable compromise. Now Multnomah County will likely move ahead with its own licensure program, with Benton and Lane counties possibly to follow.

Sen. Mark Hass has killed the tobacco control bills this session, telling The Lund Report that a lack of compromise on all fronts and division among stakeholders, even among those who were natural allies, had left him with nowhere to go.

Hass Works On Tobacco License Deal as Senate Bans E-Cigs for Minors

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The e-cigarette legislation puts the devices in the Clean Indoor Air Act, without anything but a temporary exception for testing the products in vape stores. That conflicts with a bargain being worked out between Sen. Hass and Sen. Boquist to license and regulate retail tobacco and e-cigarettes through the Department of Revenue.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly if belatedly Monday to ban e-cigarettes for minors and include them alongside most tobacco smoking in the Oregon Clean Indoor Air Act, but the passage of House Bill 2546 is unlikely to be the last word on tobacco control this session or the indoor air act.

Courtney Leads Legislators in Tobacco Campaign Cash

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Despite a voting record that has not been friendly to tobacco companies, Senate President Peter Courtney once again raised a sizable pot of cash from the parent company of Philip Morris. His support will be critical to a series of bills designed to reduce smoking and better regulate the sale of cigarettes. This story is part two in a three-part series on healthcare-related Oregon state campaign finance contributions.

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, took in more money from tobacco companies in 2014 than any other Oregon politician, raking in $10,000 from Altria Client Services, the parent company of Philip Morris, which manufactures of Marlboro cigarettes.

Big Tobacco Investment in Oregon Legislators Pays off in 2014 Session

A look at campaign finances shows Altria Client Services, the parent company of tobacco giant Philip Morris, unloaded $85,500 on the Oregon Legislature in the months before the 2013 session, including big donations to Senate President Peter Courtney and Sen. Betsy Johnson, the conservative Democrat from Scappoose. Johnson joined fellow tobacco-supported politicians such as Sen. Jackie Winters to kill a bill that would have cost Philip Morris millions.

America’s largest tobacco company made a big investment in Oregon legislators before the 2013 session and walked away with a legislative victory when a bill died on the Senate floor that would have sent unclaimed money from class-action lawsuits into an account for legal services for the poor.

Monsanto, Tobacco Companies Big Winners in Special Legislative Session

The author doesn’t have much faith in the task force that’ll address the difficult issues created by GMOs because the health risks aren’t being analyzed.


OPINION – October 14, 2013 -- The state legislature’s special session is over, and the “Grand Bargain” has been struck. In terms of personal interest in the embattled package, I had more than a dog in this fight. I had an entire kennel.

For the Convenience of the Tobacco Companies

It’s time the Obama Administration stood up to the promotion of cigarettes and stop caving into the industry.


OPINION -- September 4, 2013 -- Oregon holds the dubious distinction of ranking number one in the country for retailers illegally selling cigarettes to underage kids. Moreover, we have ranked number one three out of the past five years and ranked in the top five the other two years.


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