County to consider new flavored nicotine rules

On Aug. 16, 2022 Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury asked the Health Department to return in September with a recommendation for policy language to prevent the sale of flavored nicotine products in Multnomah County. Such a policy will impact the sale of these products, not the use of these products. The Chair requested that the Health Department’s policy recommendation include menthol.

Share your feedback

Chair Kafoury is requesting public comment on proposals to limit the sale of flavored nicotine products in Multnomah County. 

Please fill out this online form.

Health concerns drive repeat efforts to protect youth

Tobacco remains a leading cause of premature death and disease in Multnomah County. Since 2014, the Health Department has worked to identify how children and young people start using tobacco products, how the next generation of users become addicted to nicotine and how that cycle can be broken.

Flavored nicotine products sold in Multnomah County.

For decades, manufacturers have used sweet, minty and specialty flavors to hook young people into trying products that will addict them for life. And they have also successfully targeted specific demographics by using local and national celebrities, product placements and free product giveaways in neighborhoods and venues to create new demand.

The Board has worked to follow Health Department recommendations to counter this wave. With the emergence and wild popularity of e-cigarettes, in 2015, the Board of Commissioners banned minors from buying and using inhalant delivery systems and restricted their use in any indoor area that was smoke-free under the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act. 

Late that fall, after Multnomah County posted some of the highest rates of illegal sales to minors according to state and federal regulators, the Board moved to license tobacco retailers. Studies have shown licensing sellers helps drive down the illegal sales. 

In 2017, Public Health urged the Board to raise the legal age to buy products if the state did not act. That summer, the Governor signed into law making the age 21. 

And yet, Chair Kafoury said, “our Tobacco Retail License enforcement has shown us that minors still successfully purchase these products. 

“We know that ending dependence on nicotine products is difficult. We know that there are lots of businesses in our community that are making money off of these products. But at some point we have to say, ‘Enough!”