The Cost to Oregon

People who are addicted to tobacco feel the loss at the cash register, paying more than $5 for a pack of cigarettes. (In fact, a person who smokes a pack a day will save about $2,000 per year if they quit.)1 They also live with a greater risk of developing heart disease, cancer, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.2

Even people who don’t use tobacco feel the pain it delivers. Nearly 8,000 people in Oregon die of tobacco-related diseases every year.3 Nationwide, more people die from tobacco than from illegal drug use, car crashes and gun deaths combined.4

Those lost lives hurt the most, but the financial cost is painful, too: In Oregon alone, tobacco costs $2.9 billion in direct medical costs and lost productivity every year.5 That’s more than Oregon spends annually on public safety — for prisons, state police and the courts.6

We pay as a state and as individuals — through our taxes and through health insurance rates — to the tune of $1,700 for every Oregon household each year.7

If together we could keep the tobacco industry at bay and help people heal, what opportunities could we build with those dollars?

If I don’t smoke, does tobacco have any affect on me?


Oregon loses $2.9 billion per year to tobacco. 
$1.5 billion is in direct medical expenses8 that we pay as a state and as individuals, through our taxes and health insurance rates. 
The remaining $1.4 billion is in indirect losses. That’s what people who got sick or died from tobacco use would have earned if they had never used tobacco.9

  1. Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division, Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Section. Based on average retail pack price from Orzechowski, W., & Walker, R.C. (2018). The tax burden on tobacco: historical compilation, Vol. 53. Arlington, VA: Author.

  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health. (2014). The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: Author. Retrieved from

  3. Oregon Health Authority. (2017). Oregon Vital Statistics Annual Report 2017. Table 6-20. Retrieved from

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Smoking and Tobacco Use: Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking. Retrieved from

  5. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The Toll of Tobacco in Oregon. Retrieved from

  6. Oregon Legislative Fiscal Office. (2017). Budget Highlights 2017-2019: Legislatively Adopted Budget. Appendix E: Summary of Expenditures, pp. 166-167. Retrieved from

  7. Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division. Health Promotion and Chronic Disease. Analyzed using Oregon population estimates. Unpublished data.

  8. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The Toll of Tobacco in Oregon.

  9. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The Toll of Tobacco in Oregon.