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American Lung Association "Flunks" Oregon for Fifth Straight Year

January 10, 2007

For the fifth straight year, Oregon is "failing" to help reduce tobacco-related disease, according to the American Lung Association's annual report card, released yesterday. The chief criticism concerns funding for prevention - the state is on track to spend under one-fifth the money recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Dana Kaye with the American Lung Association of Oregon says there is hope to change that.

"The Governor has proposed a solution: During this legislative session he intends to raise the tax on tobacco and dedicate the revenue to tobacco prevention and education."

The Governor's proposal would increase the cigarette tax by 85 cents a pack and bring Oregon in line with Washington's cigarette tax. Many smokers oppose the tax, saying they're being picked on.

Kaye adds another major problem is the lack of indoor air protection.

"We still have between 35,000 and 45,000 people that are exposed to second-hand smoke every day in the workplace."

Kaye says they're hoping the legislature will expand the smoke-free workplace law to all public establishments and close the loopholes that allow certain businesses to allow smoking. Opponents say limiting smoking in bars and other areas is bad for business.

Compared to other states, Oregon gets a "C" in smoke-free air and a "D" in reducing youth access to tobacco products. The report card is available online at

Dondrea Warner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - OR