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Tobacco firms don't want kids to smoke

Readers' Letters

Peter Korn's article, 'State turns blind eye as stores break law' (Aug. 4), about Oregon's efforts to address underage tobacco sales, includes a claim that the tobacco industry is trying to make it easy for kids to buy tobacco products.

Philip Morris USA, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. and John Middleton do not want kids to be able to buy or use any tobacco products. We support our retail partners' efforts to educate store clerks that it's not OK to sell tobacco products to kids. And we encourage states to enforce their laws and hold store owners and clerks accountable for selling tobacco to minors.

Our companies supported the 2009 law giving the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products, reduce underage tobacco use and enforce retailer compliance with laws limiting access to tobacco products by minors. Under federal law, it's illegal to sell tobacco products to minors.

Additionally, we support the enactment of state legislation that would prohibit the purchase or possession of tobacco products by minors or the use of false identification by a minor during an attempt to purchase tobacco products. Oregon has such laws on the books, and they should be enforced.

Government, public health, parents and tobacco companies share the goal to eliminate underage tobacco use. We hope that the tobacco industry, the federal government and the states can work together to keep tobacco products out of kids' hands.

Paige Magness

Director of corporate responsibility, Altria Client Services

Richmond, Va.

TriMet should enforce smoking ban

Regarding the editorial, 'Where there's smoke, there must be enforcement' (Aug. 18), sounds like a message to deliver to TriMet since they provide almost no enforcement of their own smoking 'ban,' despite the frequent cries for more funding.

Kevin Finch

Northeast Portland

Less enforcement:fewer teens smoking

Although this story demonstrates that Oregon teens have an easier time buying cigarettes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics demonstrate that Oregon has fewer teens smoking than the national average (9.7 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds have smoked in the last month, according to CDC statistics - the national average is 10.1 percent.)

Interesting to see that less enforcement has resulted in fewer teens smoking (the focus has instead been on education, health aspects, a quit-line, etc.)

It makes one wonder if the money spent on all that enforcement nationwide might be better spent on education and health care to prevent teens from wanting to smoke.

Jennifer Alexander

Beaverton

State tries to benefit from teen smoking

They talk about how much money the store makes per year on tobacco, but the state makes $1.18 on a pack of 20.

So who is in it for the money? Methinks it is the state.

Clarence L. Smith

Southeast Portland