Speak up against hookah lounge exemptions in Oregon!
Publication Date: 2/18/2011
A disturbing new trend has come to light in Oregon: Youth are smoking hookah tobacco at rising rates, even while use of other tobacco stays steady or drops. Use of hookah is fueled by an increase in hookah lounges opening across Oregon. These lounges market to youth with flavored tobacco and party-like atmospheres.
Hookah lounges open under an exemption in the Smokefree Workplace Law that allows smoking in tobacco retail stores. When legislators created the exemption, they said they did not want to create smoking clubs. But that’s exactly what is happening.
House Bill 2726 was recently introduced to tighten up the language in the law to help prevent the proliferation of hookah lounges, which expose patrons and employees to secondhand smoke, and put youth at risk for tobacco addiction. The first public hearing on HB2726 will be held next Friday, February 25 in the House Health Care Committee.
Your help is needed top improve the law and stop this trend before it snowballs.
What Can You Do to Help?
1. Contact your state Representative today. Send him/her an email—or make a phone call—to share that you support HB 2726 to tighten the smoke shop exemption to make sure hookah lounges do not continue to pop up across Oregon. To find your legislator, go to http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/
*It is especially important to contact your Representative if he/she is on the House Health Care Committee, who are:
* Mitch Greenlick, Co-Chair
* Jim Thompson, Co-Chair
* Ben Cannon, Co-Vice Chair
* Bill Kennemer, Co-Vice Chair
* Margaret Doherty
* Val Hoyle
* Julie Parrish
* Jim Weidner
2. Contact the Tobacco-Free Coalition of Oregon to find out how else you can get involved to help stop the spread of hookah in Oregon.
3. Share this alert, and this information about hookah use, with others via your newsletter, mailings, website, presentations, and other means to help educate parents, youth, and the community about this harmful trend.
Thank you for taking action! Every email and phone call makes a difference!