Prevent deaths, make tobacco more expensive
Let's make tobacco products more expensive so kids don't try them.
State lawmakers want to raise the price of cigarettes by $2 per pack. Their bill would also tax e-cigarettes, which are a huge problem in schools. My children are in middle school, and I know firsthand the seriousness of e-cigarette use among our youth today.
Having lost my own uncle to lung cancer, it is extremely important for me to protect our children from tobacco and e-cigarettes. It is our job as a community to protect our youth in Clackamas County and across the state. I want to make sure my children are not influenced or encouraged to start using tobacco or e-cigarettes. Raising the price of tobacco products is a starting point for just that.
We all know smoking can be a lifetime addiction. But did you know that using tobacco is the No. 1 cause of preventable death? About 7,500 Oregonians will die from smoking this year. Smoking also causes 30% of cancer deaths. Saving lives from cancer matters to me because I don't want to see families suffering from such a preventable cancer diagnosis or even death.
Making tobacco products more expensive is a proven way to help people quit. Better yet, it keeps our kids from starting. As a parent, I want to make sure my kids can grow up healthy.
This effort is backed by the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network and other leading health organizations. I urge State Sen. Alan Olsen to support it too.
Whitney Welches, a community development manager for the American Cancer society, lives in Oregon City.