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I have lost several family members and close family friends to tobacco related cancers. This is why I want to reduce cancer rates and tobacco use. Did you know smoking causes nearly 30 percent of cancer deaths?

Oregon lawmakers want to raise the price of cigarettes by $2 per pack and make all other tobacco products like e-cigarettes more expensive. As an American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteer advocate, I support this because this is a proven way to reduce the amount of tobacco users in our state. Also this helps reduce the leading preventable cause of cancer and cancer deaths.

A significant tobacco tax increase will keep kids from becoming addicted and help people quit. Lives will be saved from a preventable death. A $2 cigarette tax increase will save nearly 13,700 Oregon lives. It will also help more than 31,000 adults quit smoking and reduce youth smoking rates by 21 percent.

It will also generate millions of dollars in new revenue. The state can use that money to fund Medicaid and programs to help reduce smoking rates. Sounds like a winning combination to me.

Senator Fred Girod, please support this lifesaving tobacco tax increase. It will generate revenue, reduce tobacco use and save Oregon lives.

Sam Blankenship

Lebanon (April 5)

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