A number of laws go into effect in the new year. Two focus on public safety and health.
Speed limits in residential areas may be going down, but the age to buy tobacco is going up.
“I’m glad they are raising the age,” said Eric Votto, home from college. “Because it is awful for you. It is marketing addiction which I think should probably be illegal.”
The minimum age to legally purchase tobacco will increase on Jan. 1 from 18 to 21. Employees can receive a fine of $50 for selling cigarettes or vaping products to someone under 21. Store managers can be fined $250 and store owners $500. For managers and owners, the fines double after the third offense.
A few 19-year-olds we talked to wondered if making tobacco off limits will increase the lure.
“I think what is more effective than banning something for someone to buy at a certain age is to raise awareness of how it’s not good for you,” said Cole Dominico. “Convincing the person to stay away from cigarettes rather than making it harder to get them.”
The Oregon Health Authority says increasing the tobacco age has been proven to reduce youth initiation to smoking.
Another law gives the City of Portland the power to lower speed limits on thousands of miles of road.
City council could decide to lower the speed limit on all residential streets at their next meeting in January. People we talked to on a walk in a northeast neighborhood say they would be in favor of lower speed limits.
“This is a neighborhood,” said Sara Joehnk resident of 20 years. “Kids are around, it’s just smart; slow down.”
The Portland Bureau of Transportation says safe speeds do reduce crashes.