The TV and billboard ads for cigarettes are long gone. Even the Marlboro Man is
dead.2 Yet Big Tobacco still pervades our lives and our state,
whether we use tobacco or not. Tobacco use devastates
more quietly now, worse in some neighborhoods than
others, so not all Oregonians see the harm.
Tobacco has seeped into new places, taking different forms, with stealthier advertising to hook the next generation. Last year, 3,100 kids in Oregon started smoking. That's more than graduated from all public high schools in Medford, Bend and Pendleton.4
Three out of four high school students who start smoking will continue the addiction as adults. Among those who can’t break their addiction, one third will get sicker—and die younger—than their peers who don’t smoke.5
Big Tobacco costs Oregon even more than that: billions of dollars in medical care, lost wages,6 and countless lost opportunities for our friends and neighbors to live healthy, and to live free.
We can build on our successes. We can support the three-quarters of people who smoke in Oregon who want to quit.7 And we can stop Big Tobacco from replacing them, and the people we’ve lost to tobacco addiction, with our children.