The Creswell Chronicle -

By Erin Tierney
The Creswell Chronicle 



March 8, 2018

Report: In Creswell, tobacco is seven times easier to get than fresh fruits, veggies

In Creswell, it takes seven times more effort to hunt down a bag of fresh spinach than it does a pack of cigarettes.

Sounds bewildering, but according to Lane County Health & Human Services Director Karen Gaffney and Tobacco Prevention Coordinator Christy Inskip, Creswell's got issues with tobacco retailing, especially when it comes to youth.

Youth access to tobacco in Creswell shockingly high, Gaffney and Inskip say, and there are several contributing factors for this phenomenon, including compliance, access, advertising and product placement, and the increase of flavored or electronic smoking devices.

One issue is access. For one, tobacco retail store density is five times higher in Creswell than in Lane County overall, according to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and results from the Oregon Tobacco Retail Enforcement Inspection in 2016-17.

What's more, the study also found that one in two tobacco retailers in Creswell that were checked in 2016-17 sold tobacco to an underage youth.


According to the OHA and results from the Oregon Healthy Teens Survey from 2013 and 2017 (OHTS), almost all forms of tobacco are in use among 11th graders, especially in electronic form.

"The use of other nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, has taken a drastic leap," stated Sylvia Burwell Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

According to the OHTS survey, 64 percent of 11th graders who used tobacco used flavored tobacco or vaping products.

The number of these teens using electronic nicotine delivery devices skyrocketed from 3.9 percent in 2013 to a whopping 13.6 percent in 2017.

According the the survey, any usage in general of tobacco products amongst 11th graders rose from 17.2 percent in 2013 to 19.5 percent in 2017.

Usage of non-cigarette tobacco products rose from 14.9 percent in 2013 to 18 percent in 2017.

Smokeless tobacco use, specifically among males, rose from 6.5 percent in 2013 to 10.1 percent in 2017.

Larger cigar, or little cigar or cigarillo use rose from 7.1 percent to 9.9 percent in 2017 and non-menthol cigarette use rose from 6.4 in 2013 to 7.4 in 2017.

The only exception to this consumption increase is for hookah tobacco products. Hookah use is the only tobacco product reported that is on the decrease; 8.7 percent usage was reported in 2013, which reduced to 3.8 in 2017.

"Because most tobacco use is established during adolescence, actions to prevent our nation's young people from the potential of a lifetime of nicotine addiction are critical," stated Thomas R. Frieden, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


One way kids become enticed by tobacco has to do with the industry's ad placement and marketing strategies that specifically target kids, Inskip said, noting that kids who regularly see tobacco ads are more likely to experiment with or use tobacco.

"E-cigarette companies appear to be using many of the advertising tactics the tobacco industry used to persuade a new generation of young people to use their products," stated Frieden. "Companies are promoting their products through television and radio advertisements that use celebrities, sexual content and claims of independence to glamorize these addictive products and make them appealing to young people."

Results from OHTS and results from Lane County Retail Assessment in 2014 state that 61 percent of retail stores that sell tobacco have products or ads placed in a kid-appealing way. Marketing strategies include price discounts, flavors, kid-friendly packaging, kid-appealing product and ad placement (such as next to candy bars) and targeted ads at stores kids frequent, such as convenience stores.

A reported 64 percent of teens in Lane County shop in convenience stores at least one a week, and of those teens, 79 percent recall seeing cigarette ads in or on the store's building.

"All of this is creating a new generation of Americans who are at risk of nicotine addiction," Burwell stated.


Effective, comprehensive tobacco prevention programs increase the number of smoke and tobacco-free places; increase the price of tobacco; reduce the tobacco industry's influence in the retail environment; and provide support to those addicted to nicotine who want to quit, Gaffney said.

Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), comprised of the Lane County Board of Health and commissioners who have prioritized a focus on youth access, identifies reducing tobacco use as a community priority.

According OHA, Strong county Tobacco Retail Licensing (TRL) decreases youth access.

Cities with TRL include Cottage Grove since February 2016; Veneta since August 2016; Eugene since 2001; Springfield since 2002; and Oakridge since 2003.

TRL requires a valid license to sell tobacco products or paraphernalia. In 2018, 64 of 67 tobacco retailers in Lane County were reported as licensed, and 63 compliance inspections were completed. Twelve violations were identified; five violations remain to be corrected; and no enforcement actions have been taken.

Inskip said that in Lane County, 73 percent of registered voters support requiring stores that sell tobacco to possess a license.

TRL also establishes the following requirements for retailers: they are not to be located with 1,000 feet of public schools; they must display health warnings and the Tobacco Quit Line; they must check IDs, with no sales to persons under 21; they must display their license to sell tobacco products; no self-service, such as in vending machines; no free samples; and no mobile vending.

County TRL also establishes license application procedures; sets fees to cover administration and enforcement; sets expectations for compliance with monitoring and enforcement; and sets both incentives for compliance, including discounts and renewals, and sanctions for non-compliance, such as suspension, revocation and fines.

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With electronic cigarettes on the rise with local teens across Lane County, Oregon health officials are finding ways to combat the vape craze with stricter retailing regulations.

Fines and penalties mirror those for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. For one violation, retailers will have their licenses suspended for 10 days or a fine of $1,650; the penalty for two violations is a suspension of 30 days or a fine of $4,950; for three violations, a suspension for 30 days is imposed; and for four violations, tobacco licensing is revoked for two years.

Countywide Tobacco 21 prohibits the selling or furnishing of tobacco products to persons under 21; requires retailers to check ID of persons who appear to be under the age of 30 before completing sales; prohibits self-service displays; prohibits free samples; requires county sales to require age signage; and prohibits possession of tobacco products among persons under 21.

Tobacco use still reigns as the leading cause of preventable death, Gaffney said, noting that two people die every day in Lane County from tobacco-related illnesses.


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