PORTLAND — The Oregon Health Authority announced Tuesday promising short-term outcomes of Senate Bill 754, which raised the age of purchase for tobacco and vaping products in Oregon from 18 to 21 years.

OHA found a significant decrease in youth between the ages of 13-17 and young adults, ages 18–20, who have started using tobacco since the law took effect Jan. 1, 2018. The evaluation also shows a decrease in young adults’ perceived ease of access to tobacco and vaping products.

"Tobacco 21 was enacted to help prevent young people from starting to use tobacco, and it’s working," said Dr. Tom Jeanne, deputy state health officer and epidemiologist. "With this and our strong Indoor Clean Air Act, Oregon is a national leader in protecting youth from tobacco use."

In August 2017, Gov. Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 754, making Oregon the fifth state to increase the age to purchase tobacco. To ensure compliance with the law, businesses that sell tobacco products and inhalant delivery systems such as e-cigarettes must post signs prohibiting sales of these products to persons under the age of 21.

Ending youth access to tobacco is only a minor cost for retailers but a huge gain for reducing tobacco-related deaths and diseases in Oregon’s next generation, Jeanne said.

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