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On February 18, 2017, Washington, DC’s Tobacco 21 law goes into effect!
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 million in lost productivity. Despite this, Washington D.C. spends only 15.5% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention.
In late 2016, our nation’s capital 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.