Attorney General Hardy Myers today commended legislators, retailers and tobacco prevention advocates on a new law that went into effect January. 1 to keep tobacco products away from youth.
The law, ORS 167.407, states that all tobacco products in retail outlets must be located where they are only accessible to a store clerk or retailer. Businesses exclusively engaged in the sale of tobacco products must prohibit minors under the age of 18 from entering the store.
In Oregon, a person must be 18-years-old to legally buy a tobacco product such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, clove cigarettes or cigars.
"This is a new weapon in the fight to protect Oregon's young people from tobacco," Myers said.
Many retailers are already keeping their tobacco products behind the counter or under lock and key. The new law makes such responsible retailing a state mandate. It places another important barrier between our youth and these dangerous products.
"It is great that legislators and retailers are working together to keep tobacco away from youth," said Courtni Dresser, Government Relations Director of the American Cancer Society, Oregon Division. "This is an important step in a comprehensive approach to tobacco control."
"Nearly all tobacco addicted adults developed their habits as kids," said Myers. "Our youth acquire tobacco products from adults. The law interrupts this avenue of distribution by further restricting point of sale access, increasing the consequences of violating laws against delivery to minors and enlisting the cooperation of responsible retailers."
Failure to comply with ORS 167.407 is a Class B violation. Retailers who fail to comply may be fined up to $360 a day until they comply.
According to the Oregon Department of Human Services, 45,000 youth in Oregon smoke and 13,000 chew tobacco.
Kevin Neely, Justice, (503) 378-6002
Cathryn Cushing, DHS, (503) 731-4273