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.


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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.