DC Mayor's Budget Threatens Implementation of Tobacco Ordinance

April 6, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 6, 2017 – Mayor Muriel Bowser’s recent budget proposal fails to include $160,000 which is needed to ensure implementation of the District’s new ordinance that raises the age of sale for tobacco products to 21 years old.


“Passing the ordinance which prohibits the sale of tobacco products to those under the age of 21 will mean nothing if it can’t be implemented,” said Bonita Pennino, director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in the District. “This is critical if the District is serious about improving public health by reducing the number of people who become addicted to tobacco at a young age.”


National data shows that about 95 percent of adult smokers began using tobacco before they were 21. This Act passed the DC Council in November by a vote of 10 to 3 and was signed by the mayor on November 29th.


The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 2,910 District residents will be diagnosed with cancer this year and 980 are expected to die from the disease. A recent ACS study indicates that 28 percent of all cancer deaths in the District are tobacco-related.


In addition to the District, California and Hawaii, as well as more than 150 municipalities have raised the tobacco sales age to 21. 


ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit


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