Tobacco retail licensing program helps retailers comply with commercial tobacco sales laws

Oregon’s Tobacco Retail License Program has marked its first year of work improving retailer compliance with the state’s tobacco retail sales laws, including making sure retailers aren’t selling commercial tobacco to people younger than 21.

The program launched Jan. 1, 2022. In its first year, the Oregon Tobacco Retail License Program inspected more than 500 businesses around the state and found that 25% of them illegally sold tobacco products to underage buyers. Looking forward to 2023, OHA wants all retailers to know about available tools to lower the rate of sales to youth or young adults younger than 21.

“Getting a license is the first step to ensuring that retailers are getting connected to the resources they need to fully comply with all commercial tobacco sales laws,” said Rachael Banks, OHA’s public health director. “Retailers also need to check that products are displayed and sold according to the law and that customers’ identifications are always correctly checked so that sales to those younger than 21 do not happen.”

The licensing program was created to increase retailer knowledge of, and compliance with, federal and state laws regulating the sale of commercial tobacco and vaping products. It allows OHA to watch for trends in compliance and provide education to local businesses so stores are healthier places for everyone to shop. OHA offers retailers online training, phone consultation and education during compliance checks.

“Our hope is not to find any stores in violation of these laws or have to hand out any fines,” Banks said. “Our goal is to help retailers follow all commercial tobacco sales laws so we can keep commercial tobacco out of the hands of Oregon’s youth and young adults younger than 21, which is one small step toward healthier communities.

To verify if a store is properly checking identification of customers, the state works with young adult inspectors who are 18, 19 and 20 years old. These inspectors use their real state or federally issued identification cards to attempt a purchase of commercial tobacco products. If a store employee asks how old they are, the inspector answers honestly.

If a store employee fails this inspection by not asking for ID, a compliance specialist enters the store immediately after the inspector leaves  and informs the employee who made the illegal sale that they have failed the inspection. The store license holder will then receive a letter with the results, along with instructions if they’d like to appeal. A first-time violation brings a penalty of $1,000.

Resources are available to retailers that sell tobacco products to help them stay in compliance with all commercial tobacco laws. Visit OHA’s website for commercial tobacco retailers to access a retailer training manual, fact sheets, compliance checklists and other educational resources. For questions about OHA compliance inspections and enforcement, or to request help, visit, email, or call: 971-673-2283.

Retailers with questions about how to apply for a license should visit the Department of Revenue’s Statewide Tobacco Retail License website, email, or call 503-945-8120.

Free Family Movie & Dinner March 3rd

We are excited to partner with the Healthy Oregon Modernization East (HOME) Collaborative to offer a free, family movie night filled with fun at the Cultural Center! Matsy’s catering will provide dinner at 6 p.m. Check out the educational booths, raffles, and games, then watch the Disney movie WALL-E at 7 p.m.! All ages welcome. Dinner, activities, and movie are all provided at no cost to attendees. Please share!


  • Friday, March 3rd
  • Four Rivers Cultural Center (676 SW 5th Ave, Ontario, Oregon)
  • 6 p.m. Dinner
  • 7 p.m. Movie
  • All ages
  • Free!

Call the Malheur County Health Department for more information: 541-889-7279.

Spotlight on Malheur County Vital Records Program

About Us

All births and deaths that occur in Malheur County are registered at the Malheur County Health Department by our Vital Records Team.

Certified copies of these records are available for purchase up until 6 months from the date of the event.  Vital records may be obtained in person at the Malheur County Health Department, while you wait, by appointment only.

Vital records are considered to be very confidential and can only be released to those legally eligible to receive them. Birth records are confidential for 100 years from the date of birth and death records are confidential for 50 years from the date of death.


Birth or death records cost $25 for each certificate

In order of preference, we accept cash, debit/credit card, money order or personal check made payable to Malheur County Health Department.

To schedule an appointment, call us at (541) 889-7279.

Birth Certificates

Original birth certificates contain very important information often used for establishing identification, school enrollment, youth sports, driver’s license, insurance, housing, passports, etc.

Birth records can be released to legally eligible family members (parents, grandparents, brothers/sisters), legal representative or government agencies.

To Order a Birth Certificate

Please Bring:

Upon Arrival:

Death Certificates

Original death certificates contain very important information often required for life insurance, estates, bank accounts, vehicle ownership, land ownership, pension, social security, etc.

Death records can be released to legally eligible family members (parents, grandparents, brothers/sisters), legal representatives or to persons or agencies with a personal or property right. If you are not a family member or have a personal or property right, you will need a notarized permission note from a legally eligible family member.

Most commonly, families work with the funeral home to receive death records.

Minimizing Barriers and Providing Equitable Care

  • We strive to maintain a welcoming and trauma-informed work environment that reflects and supports the racial and ethnic diversity of our participants, partners and community.
  • Assess and assist with additional referrals to meet the needs of the population we serve.
  • Bilingual and bicultural staff available to provide adequate services.
  • Provide quality and unbiased services to everyone regardless of their socially determined circumstances.

Contact Us:

  • Phone: (541) 889-7279
  • Fax: (541) 889-8468

Additional Resources:

State law only allows County offices to issue certified copies of vital records within 6 months of a birth or death. After 6 months, requests for birth and death certificates must be made from the Oregon Health Authority Center for Health Statistics.

Oregon State Orders Hotline: 888-896-4988

Oregon State Order online:

Oregon State General Information: 971-673-1190

Oregon State FAX: 971-673-1201

Oregon State TTY: 711

Learning Lab Today, Feb 8th

Join us Wednesday, February 8th at 1 p.m. at the Malheur County Health Department at 1108 SW 4th Street in Ontario for our first monthly Learning Lab. We will have refreshments and time to build relationships with program staff and community partners. Learn more here, bring a friend, and we’ll see you soon!

Lower your cancer risk with public health services

February is National Cancer Prevention Month! In 2022, an estimated 1.9 million new cancer cases were diagnosed and 609,360 people died of cancer in the United States. Research has shown that more than 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed and nearly half of all deaths from cancer in the United States can be attributed to preventable causes – things like smoking, excess body weight, physical inactivity, and excessive exposure to the sun.

As a result, steps such as quitting smoking (or never starting in the first place), maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, protecting your skin from the sun, getting tested and treated for communicable diseases, and getting vaccinated against the pathogens that cause certain cancers can dramatically reduce your risk of certain cancers.

There are many ways our team at the Malheur County Health Department can help you and your family reduce cancer risk:

  • Reproductive Health program provides pelvic exams, pap smears, health education and counseling.
  • Immunization program provides HPV vaccine, which protects children from 6 types of cancer later in life. The HPV vaccine recommended for boys and girls aged 9-12 and up to age 26 if not already vaccinated. Vaccines also available to protect against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, which can cause liver cancer.
  • Tobacco Education and Prevention program can help create policies for smoke-free spaces, provide education, and refer to Quit Line services.
  • WIC program provides nutrition counseling for pregnant women and children up to age 5. Our Registered Dietician and WIC Certifiers provide education on how to follow a healthy diet that can lower cancer risk.
  • Communicable Disease and STI testing programs provide rapid testing for several infections that can cause cancer. Hepatitis can cause liver cancer. Chlamydia increases risk of cervical cancer. People with HIV are susceptible to several cancers, including Kaposi sarcoma.

Learn more about National Cancer Prevention Month from the American Association for Cancer Research and American Cancer Society.

National Children’s Dental Health Month

Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children to get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

We love the activity sheets and resources available through the ADA here. Check out one on choosing tap water in English or Spanish and complete with your child!

National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) began as a one-day event in Cleveland, Ohio, on February 3, 1941. The American Dental Association held the first national observance of Children’s Dental Health Day on February 8, 1949. The single day observance became a week-long event in 1955. In 1981, the program was extended to a month-long observance known today as National Children’s Dental Health Month. Since 1941, the observance has grown from a two-city event into a nationwide program. NCDHM messages reach thousands of people in communities across the country and at numerous armed services bases.

Find more information on dentists covered by the Oregon Health Plan or other low cost options here.

COVID-19 rapid test expiration dates extended

Abbott Laboratories just released an update regarding Abbott BinaxNOW expiration dates. Effective immediately, all Abbott BinaxNOW test kits have a shelf life of 22 months from date of manufacture.

iHealth just released an update regarding iHealth self-test expiration dates. Effective immediately, all iHealth self-test kits have a shelf life of 15 months from date of manufacture.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will continue to supply Abbott test kits for use under CLIA certification of waiver to health care providers who accept Medicare and Medicaid or otherwise serve vulnerable populations. These testing supplies are expected to remain available through July 2024. Organizations in Oregon may order Abbott BinaxNOW tests here.

OHA will also continue to supply iHealth self-test kits to priority partners serving populations with limited or no access to testing. Priority partners include hospitals, local public health and tribal authorities, organizations serving migrant and seasonal farmworkers, state and federally funded early learning programs, community-based organizations, behavioral health facilities, homeless service sites, and K-12 schools. These testing supplies will remain available until supplies are exhausted. Organizations may order iHealth self-tests here.

iHealth Rapid Antigen tests are authorized for non-prescription home use with self-collected anterior nasal swab samples from individuals age 15 or older who have symptoms of COVID-19 within the first seven days of symptom onset. People age 2-15 may use the test, if an adult collects the swab samples. Test results are available in 15 minutes.

Rapid antigen tests, such as the iHealth tests, are not typically accepted as proof of a negative COVID-19 test for travel.

High lead levels found in Diep Bao cream used to treat eczema in babies

High levels of lead have been found in two tubes of a skin cream known as Diep Bao that’s advertised as treatment for eczema in young children. State and local health officials are warning parents to avoid using the product while its safety is investigated.

“We are concerned this product caused or significantly contributed to the elevated blood lead levels in these children,” said Ryan Barker, Oregon Health Authority’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program coordinator. “Any product containing high lead levels should be considered extremely dangerous and parents should immediately stop using it on their children or any other family member.”

People with high blood levels of lead may show no symptoms, but the condition may cause damage to the nervous system and internal organs. Children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning. If a child is exposed to enough lead for a protracted period (e.g., weeks to months), permanent damage to the central nervous system can occur. This can result in learning disorders, developmental defects, and other long-term health problems.

“If your child has a skin condition like eczema, consult with your health care provider about prevention and treatment options,” said Christina Baumann, M.D., Washington County health officer. “If you have been using this Diep Bao cream, please talk to your provider about getting a blood lead test for your child.”

For more information, visit the CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program page and the OHA press release.

Have you earned $100 through our Health is Wealth program?

Last August, we launched Health is Wealth, an incentive program to increase recommended surveillance testing, immunization, and awareness of public health services.

People can walk in to our clinic (1108 SW 4th St, Ontario) or call MCHD at 541-889-7279 to schedule time for testing, vaccine, and short informative sessions with staff. Participants will receive a Health is Wealth card (see graphic above) that will keep track of their progress through 10 core programs. Upon completion, the first 100 participants will receive a $100 gift card. So far, we’ve given out 47 of the 100 gift cards available. Our goal is to give another 53 out by the end of June.

The goal is for people to experience public health as an important part of their healthcare, get to know staff, and connect the people in their lives to available services.

Eligibility: Health is Wealth program participants must be 18 years old or older. Participants must be present to receive services, complete paperwork, and present the completed card to MCHD front desk to receive gift card. The Health is Wealth card must be started by June 30, 2023. One hundred gift cards are available and once that supply is exhausted, there is no guarantee a gift card will be provided.

Requirements: Participants must receive a stamp for each of the 10 programs, from MCHD employees on the Health is Wealth card, within 12 months of the start date on card. Immunizations must be up to date, including COVID-19 vaccines, as verified in the Oregon or Idaho immunization registries. Participants must receive testing for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis C, chlamydia and gonorrhea, or have record of tests within the last 12 months. Participants must schedule and complete short educational sessions with each program to receive a stamp.

Share these flyers in English and Spanish:

The Centers for Disease Control recommends all adults get tested for hepatitis C and that everyone should be tested for HIV at least once in their life, regardless of risk factors. With climbing rates of communicable disease, more testing is needed to identify infections, many of show no symptoms. Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver cancer, however, with treatment, hepatitis C infection is curable. Early detection can save your life. Cases of HIV, syphilis, and gonorrhea are also going up in Malheur County. Testing can give people peace of mind and more information about their overall health.

Along with increased testing, the Health is Wealth program aims to get more adults up to date on recommended vaccines. Immunizations are not just for children. Protection from some childhood vaccines can wear off over time. You may also be at risk for vaccine-preventable disease due to your age, job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions. All adults need immunizations to help them prevent getting and spreading serious diseases that could result in poor health, missed work, medical bills, and not being able to care for family.

Public health promotes the wellbeing of the entire population of Malheur County and helps to ensure access to safe and quality care. Public health is for everyone! Visit or call 541-889-7279 for more information.

Mammography Bus Cancelled for 1/27

We’re sorry to report that Saint Alphonsus had to cancel their Mobile Mammography unit planned to be at the health department Friday, January 27th. They have contacted everyone who scheduled an appointment. There is another date scheduled in Ontario in the Albertsons/Ashley Furniture parking lot for February 28th. You can make an appointment for that date by calling 208-367-8787. Thank you!