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In Victory for Kids and Health, Oregon Court of Appeals Upholds Washington County Law Ending Flavored Tobacco Sales

Statement of John Bowman, Executive Vice President for U.S. Programs, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
May 01, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Oregon Court of Appeals today upheld Washington County’s law ending the sale of flavored tobacco products, finding that it is not preempted by state law. This decision overturns a lower court ruling that blocked the law. This decision is a tremendous victory for kids and public health and affirms the authority of local governments in Oregon to address the devastating toll of tobacco use, which is the number one cause of preventable death. This decision is an important step toward implementing laws passed by Washington County and Multnomah County ending the sale of flavored tobacco products.

These laws are critical to stopping the tobacco industry from continuing to hook kids with flavored products, including flavored e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. In Oregon, 10.8% of high school students currently use e-cigarettes, and research shows that about 90% of youth e-cigarette users nationwide use flavored products. Tobacco companies also target Black, LGBTQ+ and other communities with flavored products like menthol cigarettes, which are more addictive, easier for kids to start smoking and harder for smokers to quit. By ending the sale of flavored tobacco products, policy makers can protect kids, advance health equity, save lives and save money by reducing tobacco-related healthcare costs, which total $1.8 billion a year in Oregon.

We applaud the leaders of Washington County and public health advocates who have championed the county’s flavored tobacco law. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids filed an amicus brief, joined by 11 other leading public health, medical and community groups, in support of the Washington County law.