SALEM -- Lawmakers in the state Senate on Thursday approved a bill raising Oregon's legal tobacco age to 21, inching the state closer to becoming the third to do so along with California and Hawaii. - From OregonLive.com
"Tobacco is one of the leading causes of illness, death and medical costs in Oregon.
By raising the age to 21 we decrease access," said Steiner Hayward, an OHSU physician who carried the bill on the Senate floor.
"This is pure and simple a public health bill aimed at improving the health of all Oregonians going forward." Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, argued against the bill, saying it "discriminates against some adults" because if it becomes law, people ages 18 to 20 can vote or serve in the military but not buy tobacco.
Instead of increasing the tobacco possession age, Oregon officials should use cash from Big Tobacco legal settlements that's already in state coffers to fund smoking prevention programs, Ferrioli said.
At $35,000, Senate Republican Leader Ferrioli has accepted the bulk of those contributions, according to campaign finance data.