CCAGW Urges Oregon House Behavioral Health and Health Care Committee to Oppose HB 3090 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

CCAGW Urges Oregon House Behavioral Health and Health Care Committee to Oppose HB 3090

State Action

March 17, 2023

House Behavioral Health and Health Care Committee
Oregon House of Representatives
900 Court St. NE
Salem Oregon, 97301

Dear Representative,

On March 21, 2023, the House Behavioral Health and Health Care Committee will hold a hearing on HB 3090.  On behalf of the 30,408 members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in Oregon, I urge you to oppose this legislation, which would ban the sale of flavored nicotine or tobacco products, including electronic delivery devices.  This bill will reduce the use of tobacco harm reduction products (THR), increase the purchase of tobacco products on an unregulated black market, and fail to reduce smoking.

There is significant evidence that THR products have helped adults with smoking cessation and flavored products play a key role in that success.  THR products are less dangerous alternatives to traditional cigarettes and have helped more than 3 million U.S. adults to quit smoking between 2007 to 2015.  Unlike traditional cigarettes, which have significant links to cancer, when burned, and release more than 7,000 chemicals, including arsenic, lead, and tar, THR products are less risky to smokers.  

Despite claims about a “youth vaping epidemic,” there has been a steady decline in youth smoking over the past decade, leading to historic lows.  There are 1.73 million fewer current youth tobacco product users in 2020 (4.47 million) compared to 2019 (6.20 million).  In 2021, two out of every 100 high school students (1.9 percent) reported having smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days.  Menthol and other flavor bans do not have a net impact on youth smoking cessation, as youth menthol smokers simply transition to non-menthol cigarettes. A Yale University study found that e-cigarette state bans result in a 1 percent increase in cigarette smoking between 12 and 17 years old.  Instead of enacting ineffective and harmful bans, state legislators should focus on enforcing the laws on the books, including ID verification, and holding retailers accountable when they sell illegal products to underage people.

Making a product illegal will not only fail to reduce demand, but also put smokers at increased risk by opening the floodgates to an illicit black market.  If smokers can’t buy flavored products in a regulated market, many will purchase the products elsewhere, meaning in an unregulated, dangerous market.  Citizens Against Government Waste has long supported the use of THR products to help adult smokers quit and transition to less harmful products.  The November 2021 issue brief, Tobacco Harm Reduction Products Should Be Widely Adopted, examines successful harm reduction strategies around the world.  Oregon should be promoting, not inhibiting the use of these products.  Again, I urge you to oppose HB 3090.

Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

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