Oregon’s largest county has announced plans to consider a number of tobacco policy changes, including increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21-years-old and requiring separate licenses for any retailer wishing to sell tobacco products or nicotine delivery devices such as electronic cigarettes.
In a public hearing on Tuesday, Multnomah County lawmakers heard from a number of people looking to see the county reduce the number of youth who use tobacco, which is well above the national average according to a report from KPTV.com.
While a formal proposal won’t be released until next week, it’s expected that the retailer license would cost between $350 and $600 per year. The county is planning several additional public hearings to gather additional input from individuals, businesses and other organizations about the proposal, which could include minimum pricing for cigarettes and a minimum distance that tobacco retailers would have to be from schools. A public survey has also been set up on the county’s website.
Multnomah County has a population of just over 776,000 residents and includes the city of Portland, as well as several surrounding communities.
Update (Nov. 1, 2015) The city released its proposal this week, with a first reading scheduled for Nov. 5. Fees have not yet been established, but one change of note is the ban on mobile tobacco sales, i.e. cigar and cigarette trucks.
This story was originally published on Oct. 21, 2015.