Tobacco use is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke, and remains the number one cause of preventable death in Oregon. For years funds from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement have been directed to state deficit reduction and have never been used for their intended purpose: preventing and reducing tobacco use. This year Oregon has an opportunity to restore the public's trust and direct tobacco funds to tobacco prevention.
Laid flat, stacked one of top of the other, those cigarette packs would be taller than Mt. Hood! In one day alone, Oregon youth smoke enough cigarettes packs to cover 5 football fields.
Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in Oregon and it costs our state billions in tobacco-related illnesses. But we have an opportunity this session to protect our kids from tobacco and invest in the health of our communities.
In 1998, after decades of denying the dangerous effects of tobacco use, the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (TMSA) required tobacco companies to pay states $221 billion to reduce tobacco use and offset tobacco-related healthcare costs. Unfortunately these funds have never been spent on tobacco-related uses in Oregon. This year Oregon has an opportunity to redirect these funds and return to the original intent of using tobacco settlement funds for tobacco prevention and health-related programs.
The American Heart Association and its partners are supporting a proposal to direct settlement funds to protect kids from tobacco and support health and wellness in our state. These investments could fundamentally transform Oregon’s health system, saving lives and lessening the burden of tobacco-related healthcare costs on taxpayers.
We urge you to dedicate at least 10% of the available TMSA funds towards tobacco prevention.