An Oregon lawmaker has proposed a bill that would essentially ban the sale and use of cigarettes by requiring that all nicotine products receive a doctor’s prescription.
Democratic Representative Mitch Greenlick of Portland proposed the bill on Thursday, according to local news station KPTV. The proposed bill would classify cigarettes and any other products containing nicotine as a Schedule III substance, making it illegal to possess without a doctor’s note.
Under the proposed law, any person caught with cigarettes or tobacco products (or any Schedule III substance) in Oregon would be facing up to one year in prison or a fine of $6,250. Other Schedule III substances include ketamine and LSD.
"The State Board of Pharmacy may adopt rules placing requirements and limitations on the sale or transfer of products containing nicotine," the bill's text reads.
According to the Williamette Week, roughly 17 percent of Oregonians smoke on a regular basis. Because it’s highly unlikely that any legitimate doctor would actually prescribe a patient cigarettes (just as very few doctors prescribe LSD), the bill would make it impossible for more than 660,000 Oregon residents to smoke legally.
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Still, even Greenlick concedes that the bill has a low likelihood of actually passing in the state legislature. He says that, more than anything else, the bill is designed to spark a conversation about the fact that cigarettes are “as addictive as heroin” but sold over the counter.
"To have a substance that addictive for sale over the counter just seems wrong," he told the Williamette Week. "If it doesn’t pass, I hope that it will enhance the probability of an increase in the cigarette tax passing.”
Still, not everyone is onboard with Greenlick’s plan.
"I think it's pretty crazy," Salem native Juan Silva told KPTV. "I don't see it going through. It's going to be something to watch for, but I don't think it'll pass."
Other Oregon residents are more supportive of the proposed plan to outlaw cigarettes.
"I hope it passes, and I hope people actually think about it," Rick Cannon of Salem told KPTV. "You know there's less and less smokers everyday, because they know how bad it is for them, so I just hope people wake up and realize how bad it actually is for them."