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Whitney Welches, a community development manager for the American Cancer society, lives in Oregon City

Let's make tobacco products more expensive so kids don't try them.

Whitney WelchesState 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.

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