Washington D.C.

Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress
11/1/2016: Washington D.C. passes a Tobacco 21 ordinance; outlaws Tobacco use at organized sporting events.

Washington D.C. currently has an above national average rate of both high school smoking and adult smoking. An estimated 7,000 children now under the age of 18 will eventually die early due to smoking, with 100 children becoming daily smokers each year. The result is an annual health care cost of $391 million that is directly caused by smoking, and another $280.4 billion in lost productivity. Despite this, Washington D.C. spends only 15.9% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention.

In late 2016, our nation’s capitol made the bold decision to increase the minimum legal sales age (MLSA) of all tobacco products from 18 to 21. The law also includes language prohibiting tobacco use at organized sporting events, including professional venues. Washington, D.C.’s action to protect the nation’s youth from the dangers of tobacco will make an impact on our national legislature, building momentum toward a unified MLSA of 21 across the United States.

For more information, you may contact:

April Seliga
Eastern Region Director
Tobacco 21
April.Seliga@Tobacco21.org

Amy Barkley
Director, Tobacco States and Mid-Atlantic
Tobacco Free Kids
ABarkley@Tobaccofreekids.Org

or visit our sources:

Tobacco Free Kids Washington D.C.: “The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.”

American Lung Association Report Card.: “The ALA ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2014.”

SLATI State Information Washington D.C.: “SLATI (State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues) is an extensively researched and invaluable source of information on tobacco control laws and policy, and is the only up-to-date and comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws.”


The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids support these four principles for Tobacco 21 ordinances:

1) Include all tobacco and nicotine products, specifically e-cigarettes. The only exceptions would be FDA recognized nicotine replacement products (gum, patch, etc.) intended for cessation.
2) Include significant enforcement provisions against illegal sales as research shows that consistent enforcement is of critical importance.
3) Not include any pre-emption against local authority in more stringent regulation of tobacco or other nicotine product sales, secondhand smoke, or e-cigarette vapor.
4) Ideally not include possession, usage, or purchase (PUP) penalties that result in criminal records, and instead place the onus on the purveyors of these addictive products.

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