Easiest state for kids to get tobacco? Oregon

Easiest state for kids to get tobacco? Oregon

EUGENE, Ore. - Stores in Oregon sell tobacco to kids more than retailers in other states, according to a new federal study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The study had decoys purchase cigarettes nationwide.

In most states, the minors made over 10 attempts before getting tobacco.

In Oregon,  it took less than half the number of tries

Local health officials said the low tax rate on tobacco is one factor. Lack of oversight is another concern.

Most states require stores to pay hefty fees for a license, which they jeopardize by selling to minors.

"Oregon is actually one of the few states that doesn't have a statewide requirement for tobacco retailers to be licensed," said Christy Inskip with Lane County.

In other states, the licenses generate revenue, which funds frequent enforcement. That doesn't exist in Oregon.

Some local stores, like The Kiva, have taken the initiative to promote healthy habits by refusing to sell tobacco altogether.

"It started out being a co-op with emphasis on organic products," said Sherrill Bower with The Kiva. "That in itself is to promote wellness and health in people which obviously cigarettes don't do."

Oregon has never applied for federal funding to support youth tobacco enforcement. Health officials say it is being discussed.