Compared with 1997, when TPEP efforts began, the number of Oregon adults who smoke has declined 13 percent. Oregonians now consume 2.3 billion fewer cigarettes each year. Notably, when TPEP funding was reduced, cigarette sales went up— then dropped again after funding was restored in 2007.61
TPEP has made tremendous strides in reducing secondhand smoke exposure in Oregon, most recently with the expansion of the Smokefree Workplace Law, which now protects almost all Oregon workers from secondhand smoke.
Tobacco prevention and education in the United States started in the 1960s with our own U.S. Senator, Maurine B. Neuberger. She helped lead one of the first campaigns against smoking, calling for a comprehensive national program to control the hazards of smoking, even before the U.S. Surgeon General publicly linked smoking with cancer.62 She sponsored one of the first bills to mandate health-warning labels on cigarette packages. She took on the tobacco industry in her 1963 book, “Smoke Screen: Tobacco and the Public Welfare.”
Despite these accomplishments, the Smokefree Oregon movement has more work to do: 18 percent of Oregonians still smoke.63 Three-quarters64 of them want to quit but struggle to break the addiction. Tobacco accounts for 22 percent of all Oregon deaths and costs our state $2.5 billion every year in direct medical costs and lost productivity.