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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

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Confirmed Cases: 31865

Reported Deaths: 539
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7022136
Marion456992
Washington441759
Umatilla293941
Clackamas234661
Malheur158926
Jackson11094
Lane109616
Deschutes79312
Yamhill75013
Jefferson5218
Polk51515
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Union4392
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Josephine1952
Columbia1551
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Crook621
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Harney120
Grant90
Gilliam80
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California Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 799516

Reported Deaths: 15393
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2644146455
Riverside578831179
San Bernardino53359918
Orange526221182
San Diego45596773
Kern31712360
Fresno28019362
Sacramento21872399
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Santa Clara20756304
San Joaquin20126437
Stanislaus16436345
Contra Costa16238204
Tulare15829259
Ventura12591146
Imperial11741317
San Francisco1094699
San Mateo9714144
Monterey970170
Santa Barbara8973113
Merced8828140
Kings756977
Sonoma7262120
Marin6641114
Solano627863
Madera445865
Placer353544
San Luis Obispo347929
Butte279043
Yolo278255
Santa Cruz22949
Sutter168911
Napa165313
San Benito132111
Yuba11367
El Dorado10884
Mendocino89418
Shasta75916
Lassen7360
Glenn5713
Tehama5334
Lake53011
Nevada5286
Colusa5246
Humboldt4967
Calaveras31414
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
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Mariposa752
Plumas500
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