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OR Barely Passes on New "Tobacco Report Card"

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 By Chris ThomasContact
January 11, 2008

Portland, OR – Oregon gets poor grades on its tobacco control measures, according to a new "report card" from the American Lung Association, but there's reason to think next year's will be better.

The ALA gave Oregon two F's and two C's, primarily for the state's lack of funding for tobacco prevention and control programs. A new smoke-free workplace law has been enacted, but it won't go into effect until January 2009.

Dana Kaye of the ALA Oregon office finds the low marks disappointing.

"We still know that tobacco is the number-one cause of preventable death. And to not fund a program that prevents that, a program that will save enormous amounts of money in the future, just doesn't make sense."

Kaye says the legislature agreed to spend a little more money on smoking prevention, but not enough to have a program in every county. The report says Oregon spends less than half the amount recommended by the Association. In the meantime, more than 18 percent of Oregon adults and more than 15 percent of high school students are smokers.

Kaye points out that the state's grades should go up, however, starting a year from now.

"Our biggest improvement has been in the smoke-free workplace law. That is still a year away in terms of implementation. However, that doesn't prevent anybody from making their establishment smoke-free in the interim."

For whatever consolation it may be, the federal government got worse grades from ALA Oregon did: three F's and one D, due to a lack of tobacco regulation and low cigarette taxes.

The ALA "State of Tobacco Control 2007" report can be viewed online at
www.stateoftobaccocontrol.org.

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