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Deaths from tobacco use are the No. 1 preventable cause of death in Oregon, according to the state Public Health Division, and most people start smoking before they turn 20.

FILE PHOTO - A teen smoker. In a legislative session where lawmakers will need to close a budget gap of more than $1.5 billion, we're wary of any measure that cuts a stable source of tax revenue.

But, when those tax dollars come from kids who are harming themselves, we focus less on dollars and more on common sense.

That's why we're heartened to see the bipartisan support for Senate Bill 754, which would raise the legal age to purchase and use tobacco in Oregon from 18 to 21.

This bill, which easily passed the Senate on March 23, is not about personal liberty. It's not about being old enough to serve in the military. It's about saving lives.

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