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Tobacco Prevention: Retail Environment

Oregon Tobacco Retail


On Wednesday August 9, 2017 Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 754 into law. This law raised the required minimum age for a person to legally buy or obtain tobacco products, inhalant delivery systems, and tobacco product devices, from 18 to 21.

This law applies to conduct occurring on or after January 1, 2018. There is no violation for people ages 18, 19, or 20 to possess tobacco products or inhalant delivery systems. Oregon was the 5th state in the nation to raise the age to purchase tobacco to 21 years.

Raising the age to purchase tobacco to 21 years old is an evidence-based strategy that will help reduce youth initiation of tobacco. Most addiction to tobacco starts in adolescence, so protecting kids is critical. Nine out of ten adults who smoke report that they started smoking before they turned 18, and almost 100 percent start before they turn 26.

If you see a tobacco retailer selling tobacco to someone you know is under 21 and would like to let us know, please send an email to:

Tobacco products are sweet, cheap and easy to get, and are heavily promoted and marketed in stores. This makes it difficult for people who smoke to stop and promotes tobacco use to Oregon’s youth.

 Content Editor


Why the Tobacco Retail Environment Matters

In 2012, a report from the U.S. Surgeon General showed that:

"...the industry's extensive use of price-reducing promotions has led to higher rates of tobacco use among young people[i]" Evidence shows that coupons also encourage new smokers to smoke more often, thereby entrenching their addiction.[ii] - See citation

Tobacco is still the leading cause of death in Oregon. Tobacco companies spend over $100 million per year in Oregon’s retail environment to market their products to Oregon kids and teens, and to make it harder for people who smoke to quit. To learn more about how the tobacco industry markets its products in Oregon, and what Oregonians are doing to create a smoke-free Oregon, visit

Compliance with the Law

Tobacco and inhalant delivery system retailers are responsible for complying with tobacco sales laws in Oregon.

Best Practice/Approach to Prevention

Laws that prohibit sales to minors are important, but alone, will not keep kids from using tobacco and nicotine products.

Evidence shows that to prevent youth initiation of tobacco products, communities must take a comprehensive approach that includes reducing youth exposure to products that are sweet, cheap, and easy to get.  To find out more about what Oregon communities are doing to reduce youth tobacco use, visit

Visit for resources to counteract tobacco product sales and marketing at the point of sale in your community.

[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of the Surgeon General. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General (2012) (Page 8). PDF icon Accessed April 3, 2015.

State Health Improvement Plan

Preventing and reducing tobacco use is one of seven priority areas in Oregon's State Health Improvement plan (SHIP).

A key strategy in the SHIP is to increase the price of tobacco. Tobacco prices have a significant effect on initiation and consumption.

Strategies such as banning free samples or coupon redemption are effective ways to increase tobacco prices.