D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed three critical tobacco control bills that will essentially make the District a smoke-free city.
The bills passed by D.C. Council in November prohibits the use of tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes at organized sporting events in the nation’s capital and raises the age of sale for tobacco products to 21 years old.
“The passage of these three bills not only sends an important message to the people living and working in the District of Columbia, they also help to address the cancer burden faced in the District,” said Bonita Pennino, director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 2,910 DC residents will be diagnosed with cancer this year and 980 are expected to die from the disease.
A recent American Cancer Society study indicates that 28 percent of all cancer deaths in the District of Columbia are tobacco-related.
“Through their actions, the mayor and members of the D.C. Council are preserving the public health benefits of the District’s smoke-free law by ensuring its enforcement cannot be compromised by new tobacco products,” Pennino said. “Moreover, they are helping to reduce the number of people who start using tobacco at a young age by restricting the sale of and exposure to these products.”
The Electronic Cigarette Parity Amendment Act, which passed the D.C. Council and was signed by the mayor on Monday, Nov. 21, recognizes that the use of e-cigarettes in workplaces, restaurants and bars can undermine the public health benefits that have been achieved by the smoke-free law in place since 2007.
On Tuesday, Nov. 29, the mayor signed the Prohibition Against Selling Tobacco Products to Individuals Under 21 Amendment Act raising the age of sale for tobacco products from 18 to 21.
According to ACS, national data shows that about 95 percent of adult smokers began using tobacco before the age of 21.
This act passed the D.C. Council by a vote of 10-3.
The Sporting Events Tobacco Products Restriction Amendment Act of 2016 prohibits the use of tobacco products at organized sporting events in the District of Columbia.
“This is a proud day for the District,” Pennino said.