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Governor Brown pushes for bill to raise tobacco taxes

House Bill 2270 would raise taxes on cigarettes and other, traditional forms of tobacco, as well as creating a tax on e-cigarette products.

Posted: Apr 10, 2019 11:15 AM
Updated: Apr 10, 2019 4:04 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown is throwing her support behind new legislation that would raise taxes on tobacco products, including the creation of taxes for e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.

According to Brown's office, money raised by the tax would be funneled toward the Oregon Health Plan (OHP), the state's Medicaid program.

"House Bill 2270 will improve health and save lives," Governor Brown told the House Revenue Committee. "Tobacco is still the No. 1 preventable cause of disease and death in Oregon. By increasing the cost of tobacco products and e-cigarettes, House Bill 2270 not only provides the funding we need to continue to provide health coverage to Oregonians, it invests in prevention and cessation to improve the health of our communities."

Taxes on cigarettes would rise by about $2 per pack under HB 2270. The bill would also, according to Brown's office, tax e-cigarettes — apparently through changes in terminology. The bill itself does not refer to e-cigarettes, but frequently mentions "inhalant delivery systems" for tobacco products.

"The U.S. Surgeon General reports that 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students use e-cigarettes," said Brown's office. To date, there has been little in the way of definitive results on the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes, however, in spite of some apparent issues flagged by the FDA.

Distributors and retailers of tobacco products could also face new taxes under House Bill 2270.

The new legislation is just one part of a multi-pronged approach by Governor Brown to find "long-term sustainable funding" for OHP. Two other funding measures were signed into law last month, and the Employer Health Care Responsibility Act (House Bill 2269) — which adds a spending requirement for employers who do not contribute a minimum amount toward their employees' health care — is also under consideration by lawmakers.

If passed, Brown's office estimates that the bill would raise an additional $346 million per biennium — with 90 percent of the funds earmarked for OHP and the remaining 10 percent going toward "investments in tribes, culturally specific organizations, and state and local public health to expand cessation efforts."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 4086

Reported Deaths: 151
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah110359
Marion93125
Washington71517
Clackamas30411
Deschutes1210
Linn1159
Umatilla1143
Polk9811
Yamhill697
Lane672
Jackson650
Benton555
Clatsop450
Klamath410
Malheur330
Coos310
Douglas250
Jefferson250
Josephine251
Wasco211
Columbia160
Hood River130
Morrow120
Lincoln100
Crook60
Curry60
Union60
Tillamook60
Wallowa20
Lake20
Sherman10
Harney10
Grant10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 103813

Reported Deaths: 3993
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles498602241
Riverside7341313
San Diego7100260
Orange5744142
San Bernardino4914190
Alameda309794
Santa Clara2701140
San Francisco243740
San Mateo202282
Kern200737
Tulare183580
Fresno165832
Santa Barbara163612
Imperial144326
Contra Costa138437
Sacramento134956
Ventura106232
San Joaquin84235
Kings7043
Stanislaus68328
Sonoma5304
Solano50922
Monterey4699
Marin43614
Merced2807
San Luis Obispo2681
Yolo20723
Santa Cruz2062
Placer1969
Napa1113
Humboldt983
Madera942
San Benito852
El Dorado840
Del Norte440
Sutter422
Nevada411
Butte400
Shasta374
Mono351
Yuba281
Mendocino250
Lake230
Inyo191
Mariposa161
Calaveras150
Glenn140
Amador100
Siskiyou60
Colusa50
Lassen50
Tuolumne40
Plumas40
Tehama41
Alpine20
Trinity10
Sierra10
Unassigned00
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