By Ezra Neumann | The Broadside (Contact: email@example.com)
Oregon is the fifth state in the nation to raise the legal age of purchasing tobacco to 21. At the beginning of the year, the state legislature passed a bill increasing the legal age to purchase any tobacco products from 18 to 21. Hawaii and California were the first two states to push the legal age of tobacco use and Maine and New Jersey followed in 2017.
The aim of this bill is to make sure that all providers of tobacco products are keeping it out of the hands of teenagers, penalizing them with the most severity as opposed to a teenager caught in possession.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, Gov. Kate Brown signed the bill on Aug. 9, along with hundreds of other new laws at the beginning of the year. The overall goal of the law is to decrease the steadily increasing smoking culture among teenagers in the state of Ore.
Central Oregon Community College has policies already in-place in terms of smoking regulations on school grounds. The policy as listed on the COCC website states that smoking will be limited to parking lots only unless explicitly stated otherwise. Students must also remain adjacent from all parts of a building, with a minimum distance of 25 feet. The policy also states that during anytime with a high fire risk, smoking will be banned entirely.
If these rules are broken, the Campus Public Safety officers are allowed to make an individual cease smoking in non-smoking zones. However, the CPS officers don’t have the legal rights to require ID or card students to ensure that they are 21.
This law mainly alters the purchasing of tobacco amongst teenagers, but will not have a significant impact on COCC policy. The rules will remain the same in terms of smoke friendly areas on campus.
The COCC administration will be meeting in the next few weeks to discuss any possible policy changes. Alicia Moore, COCC’s Dean of Student and Enrollment Services, will be addressing the issue in the coming weeks. Moore believes no significant changes will take place regarding COCC campus life.
Maison Bell, 18, student currently enrolled at COCC, has mixed feelings on the new law. Bell is a frequent user of tobacco products, and he believes that having been 18 before the law changed should have altered his status on the legality of purchasing tobacco products. Bell states “They are just trying to change things overnight, we are 18, we can buy a gun, but can’t smoke if we want to. There are simply to many loopholes for this to be effective” .
Emma Monical, another 18-year-old student at COCC had a very similar reaction to the law, however, is a non-smoker. Monical believes that adults should have the right to put whatever they want into their bodies, but she also feels that proper education and information regarding tobacco should be provided to the young adults making that decision.
For more information regarding COCC policies, go to www.cocc.edu and search smoking policies, Or contact 541-383-7700. ■