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Measure 108’s $2 tobacco tax hike, new e-cigarette tax worry C.O. businesses

(Update: adding video, statements from Measure 108 opponent)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The American Cancer Society and the e-cigarette and tobacco industries continue to battle, this time over Oregon Ballot Measure 108, a tax hike on tobacco products and a new tax on e-cigarette products.

Some businesses in Central Oregon that sell tobacco and e-cigarette products say the tax hike can affect what their clients can afford, making it a more expensive habit for many, and ultimately hurting their sales.

NewsChannel 21 spoke Wednesday with representatives of Smoke This, High Mountain Mist and Valley Vapors, three businesses that say their customers have expressed concern about the possible tax hikes.

Measure 108 would raise the state’s cigarette tax by $2 per pack and tax e-cigarettes for the first time in Oregon.

Jamie Dunphy, Oregon government relations director with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said, "One in four teenagers reports being able to get regular access to e-cigarettes. Evidence shows that e-cigarette use directly leads to tobacco use, and it directly leads to cancers, and it directly leads to a lot of health disparities that cause lifelong problems."

Dunphy said tobacco-related illnesses are still the leading cause of preventable deaths in Oregon.

Increasing the tax of tobacco and e-cigarette products make them less accessible -- something Dunphy and other supporters of the measure consider a good thing.

"I will be candid: We want their sales to be low," he said.

Jason Weber, CEO of Vape Crusader, is working with local businesses in the No On 108 campaign. He said the new tax would cause some businesses to take a hit.

"A 65 percent tax on every product in our vaping stores is detrimental to our businesses," Weber said. "I would say somewhere around 90 or 95 percent of us would have to shut down."

Currently, Oregon's cigarette tax is $1.33 cents per stamp for a pack of 20 cigarettes.

Weber explained that there are parameters in place to keep people safe and healthy.

"All of our stores are 21 and older, so youth can't come in our stores as is," Weber said. "Again, these products have been proven 95 percent safer than smoking.

"And then for the argument (that) this leads to tobacco use -- well if that was the case, we'd see tobacco use skyrocket right now," he said. "We don't -- we see that the CDC says it's a 34 percent drop in vaping in the last year."

The American Cancer Society said the tax dollars will go toward intervention, public services, rehabilitation and tobacco education programs.

Bend / Business / Central Oregon / Government-politics / News / Top Stories
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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.

Comments

54 Comments

    1. “Some businesses in Central Oregon that sell tobacco and e-cigarette products say the tax hike can affect what their clients can afford, making it a more expensive habit for many, and ultimately hurting their sales.” – And this is a bad thing!!!! – Anything for a dollar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. But of course its OK for big fat lyin donnie to run up TRILLIONS in debt for his totally failed attempt as “a was time preident fighting a invisable enemy” to lie and bully a virus!!ROTFLMAO!

  1. As someone who is against smoking in any form, and who is allergic to tobacco – I am even more adamantly against any form of new tax, even on a product I am against any new tax for any excuse.

    1. How about your tax dollars going in abundance to tobacco related illnesses being paid by the Oregon Health Plan? just think if they can save 100 million in expenses by forcing people to quit!

  2. We need to do whatever it takes to stop tobacco use. It’s a horrible death to experience and watch. I’ve watched my mom die and I’m watching my sister now. They can’t tax tobacco enough!

  3. no. how bout a big fat tax hike on craft beer, to save all those drunk drivers. 45-50 dollars a beer sounds about right, that way if they’ve drank enough to get drunk they are paying their fair share into the system

    1. Tax alcohol at bars and pubs and use some of the money to fund a ride-sharing service for complimentary rides home to prevent drunk driving.
      .
      Also, legalize ALL drugs, tax accordingly. Use funds to pay for treatment centers to rehabilitate those that want it and mental health facilities to give people a chance to get their lives back on track.
      .
      YES on 108.

  4. I hit send early dang it. All firearms charges from Illinois have been dismissed, and that’s gonna be tought for Wisconsin to proceed…but we know how liberal activist politicians work

    1. NO Firearms charges in IL because he got the weapon in WI, now that’s a whole different question as to who in IL gave a 17 year old a weapon, so IL can’t get him for weapon charges. However WI will still prosecute the murder! are you high?

      1. LOL he’s gonna walk. It was clearly self-defense on all three he shot. By the way… the multiple time felon that he shot in the arm… the one with the stolen Glock… the guy who shouldn’t have had a gun let alone a stolen one… hasn’t been charged with anything. No firearms charges in Wisconsin OR Illinois now… and you still can’t see where this is going can ya…

        Drinking again?

    2. Not that I really believe many “liberal activists politicians” have ever been elected in recent decades in the US (which is predominantly a moderately conservative to extremely conservative place, politically), but what’s wrong with politicians being “activist”? Don’t their constituents elect them to make laws (whether politically “liberal” or “conservative”) to achieve some desired social outcome? I understand that the criticism of *judges* as activist (although often levied by people who have no understand of law, history, or the role of the courts) is meant to say they’re “outside their lane,” but how is “activist” a criticism of a politician?

  5. Global warming may allow us to grow tobacco in our backyards. Thank you to all the ignorant self absorbed voters for not caring about the planet but what’s in your wallet!

    1. Global warming allowed palm trees to grown in Condon, with camels and grazing rhinos. Dang prehistoric self-absorbed voters anyway. Oh wait… man didn’t exist yet. Dang that Donald Trump!!!

  6. Read the measure, then vote no.
    Section 3. All moneys received…… go to a suspense account. Out of that account, 60.61% is to be used for administration and enforcement. ie: wages and benefits for MOAR state employees. The 39.39% is then divided up with OHA getting the most. The Tobacco use Reduction account, to stop smoking according to the commercials, get 5.77%.

    Here is a breakdown for $1Mil.
    State takes 606,100.00 less
    3.45% each to Cities, Counties and ODOT.
    Equals $353,131.xx
    Tobacco use Reduction gets $20,375 out of each Million or projected at about $250,000 in the first year, and $600K the 2nd. 5 FTE state employees and the money is gone.

    The tax on a carton of cigarettes, including the $1+ fed tax, will be just north of $43.

    If you believe the money will be spent wisely…. I am sure ODOT has a bridge or two they could sell ya’.

  7. Funny how myopic cosn are! don’t want any new taxes collected but can’t see that it possibly saves millions in OHP costs and lives of addicts. So shortsighted you are!

      1. Sure because I look at the issues and decide if I think they have merit. You cons just say no no no and don’t read a thing. Or are not capable of understanding.

  8. My father was a 50 year smoker, then diagnosed with emphysema. My sister said “You do not want to see your grandson grow up?”. He quit cold turkey that day but was still too late. Had to watch him die while begging the nurse for more oxygen. PLEASE STOP SMOKING NOW.

      1. Maybe it’s self righteousness, but I just took it as saying that’s an area where it’s pretty obvious that the government has a heavy hand.

  9. hopefully, this doesn’t get lost in the troll food but is it only the e-cigarettes being taxed or will the liquid bottles that you buy to fill your own cartridges be taxed as well?

  10. I’ll vote no, even though I don’t use tobacco products. Enough with the social engineering, already, and I don’t trust the state bureaucracy or the legislature that the collected taxes will be spent as they are being marketed.

    Remember when we were told Lottery funds would solely be used for education.

  11. Take the 18% tax off cannabis products and take the taxes off alcohol, too. Property and business taxes also need to go, along with income taxes. Government is the enemy of the people, starve the beast !

  12. Absolutely no. I don’t smoke but if I decided that I wanted to smoke why would I pay a friggin’ penny to the government so they “allow me”. Maybe they should tax protesters instead!

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