Cigarettes and Tobacco Products

ORS 323.803
Findings and purpose


Cigarette smoking presents serious public health concerns to the State of Oregon and to the people of the State of Oregon. The Surgeon General has determined that smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease and other serious diseases, and that there are hundreds of thousands of tobacco-related deaths in the United States each year. These diseases most often do not appear until many years after the person in question begins smoking.


Cigarette smoking also presents serious financial concerns for this state. Under certain health care programs, the State of Oregon may have a legal obligation to provide medical assistance to eligible persons for health conditions associated with cigarette smoking, and those persons may have a legal entitlement to receive such medical assistance.


Under those health care programs, the State of Oregon pays millions of dollars each year to provide medical assistance for persons for health conditions associated with cigarette smoking.


It is the policy of the State of Oregon that financial burdens imposed on this state by cigarette smoking be borne by tobacco product manufacturers rather than by this state to the extent that such manufacturers either determine to enter into a settlement with the State of Oregon or are found culpable by the courts.


On November 23, 1998, leading United States tobacco product manufacturers entered into a settlement agreement, entitled the “Master Settlement Agreement,” with the State of Oregon. The Master Settlement Agreement obligates those manufacturers, in return for a release of past, present and certain future claims against them as described in the Master Settlement Agreement:


To pay substantial sums to the State of Oregon (tied in part to their volume of sales);


To fund a national foundation devoted to the interests of public health; and


To make substantial changes in their advertising and marketing practices and corporate culture, with the intention of reducing underage smoking.


It would be contrary to the policy of the State of Oregon if those tobacco product manufacturers who determine not to enter into such a settlement could use a resulting cost advantage to derive large, short-term profits in the years before liability may arise without ensuring that this state will have an eventual source of recovery from them if they are proven to have acted culpably. It is thus in the interest of the State of Oregon to require that such manufacturers establish a reserve fund to guarantee a source of compensation and to prevent such manufacturers from deriving large, short-term profits and then becoming judgment-proof before liability may arise. [Formerly 293.530; 2017 c.315 §31]
Note: See note under 323.800 (Definitions for ORS 323.800 to 323.807).
Chapter 323

Notes of Decisions

This chapter was not intended to impose a tax on cigarettes sold by an Oregon distributor, to be shipped out of state and sold out of state to ultimate consumers for use out of state. Carter & Son v. Dept. of Rev., 5 OTR 379 (1974)


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021