Reducing Smoking and Tobacco Use
Oregon has a strong commitment to preventing tobacco use. The state’s Tobacco Prevention and Education Program (TPEP) works in every county and with Oregon’s federally recognized tribes. Together, with people in their communities, they support changes that limit the tobacco industry’s influence, protect people from secondhand smoke, keep youth from starting and help people quit.
Since TPEP started in 1997, the number of adults in Oregon who smoke has gone down 22 percent. People in Oregon now consume 2.7 billion fewer cigarettes each year than they did in 1997. Having this program on our side works: when TPEP funds were cut back in the early 2000s, cigarette sales went up — then dropped again after funding was restored in 2007.1
Oregon’s Legacy of Leadership
Tobacco prevention and education in the United States started in the 1960s with Oregon’s own U.S. Senator, Maurine B. Neuberger. She helped lead one of the first campaigns against smoking, worked toward requiring health warning labels on cigarette packages, and called for a national prevention program. This was even before the U.S. Surgeon General publicly linked smoking with cancer.2 Sen. Neuberger took on the tobacco industry in her 1963 book, “Smoke Screen: Tobacco and the Public Welfare.” Oregon has continued this legacy ever since.
There’s more to do: join us!
Despite these accomplishments, the Smokefree Oregon movement has more work to do. One out of six Oregonians still smoke.3 Three in five people who smoke want to quit3 but struggle to break the addiction. Tobacco is linked to over 21 percent of all Oregon deaths4 and costs our state $2.9 billion every year in direct medical costs and lost productivity.6 Although we’ve made gains in reducing smoking, the tobacco industry is finding ways to keep people addicted to nicotine and entice young people to start: e-cigarettes and vape.
You can hold the tobacco industry accountable for the harm it causes. Let’s work together to protect kids, our families and our communities. Together, we’re stronger than Big Tobacco.