Greenlick Files Bill to Make Cigarettes a Prescription-Only Drug

A new bill in the Oregon Legislature would require a prescription for a pack of smokes.

Rep. Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland), filed a bill that would put nicotine in the same category as ketamine, and would make having the addictive substance without a doctor's note a crime.

House Bill 2077 would classify nicotine as a Schedule III controlled substance and would make the unlawful possession and distribution of nicotine a crime punishable by up to one year of prison and a $6,250 fine.

We're envisioning a world of Kwik-E-Marts turned "medical" Camel dispensaries. Of course, the bill is likely to fight an uphill battle with the tobacco lobby and businesses that sell smokes. And possibly even doctors—who, while knowing cigarettes, chew and other products are carcinogens—probably don't want to handle the influx of the 17 percent of Oregon adults who smoke flocking to their pharmacy pads to satisfy a nic fit.

Greenlick tells WW that he doesn't expect the bill to pass, but rather to point out that nicotine is as addictive as heroin and start a conversation.

"To have a substance that addictive for sale over the counter just seems wrong," he says. "If it doesn't pass, I hope that it will enhance the probability of an increase in the cigarette tax passing.