Leading Health Organization Reacts to D.C. Council E-Cigarette Proposals

January 2, 2020

WASHINGTON—Today, the D.C. City Council held a hearing on three separate pieces of legislation designed to regulate the sale and use of flavored e-cigarettes.

The following can be attributed to Jocelyn Collins, D.C. director of government relations for ACS CAN:

“While the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is encouraged that the Council recognizes the dangers posed to our youth by flavored e-cigarettes, these measures will not sufficiently address youth tobacco use. 

“The dangers of flavored tobacco do not just start and end with e-cigarettes. The Council should end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes. The tobacco industry has targeted the marketing of these products to youth—especially among communities of color and LGBTQ youth—as they attempt to lure kids into a lifetime of addiction.

“Menthol in particular, is a flavor proven to be especially addictive and hard to quit. Allowing it to stay on store shelves directly and negatively impacts those at lower economic levels residing within our country’s health coverage gaps.

“We urge the Council to help protect the youth of D.C. by expanding the proposed legislation to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products throughout the city, and without exemptions.

“The Council also proposed legislation requiring a prescription for e-cigarettes, which is not an appropriate response to the youth e-cigarette epidemic. E-cigarettes are not FDA approved cessation devices and they are not harmless. In addition to nicotine, e-cigarette aerosol can contain heavy metals like lead and tin and other harmful chemicals. E-cigarettes pose potential health risks to users and we are concerned this measure might encourage the public to think of these devices as medical in nature. The Council should not move forward with this legislation.

“Additionally, legislation was proposed to restrict the number of e-cigarette retailers near schools. The legislation needs to be updated to reflect the Tobacco 21 law in DC Code and to restrict all tobacco retailers, otherwise, it leaves an unintended opening for Big Tobacco.

“Currently, 1 out of 8 high schoolers in the District of Columbia smoke, 10.5% of high school males smoke cigars, and 10.9% of high school students smoke e-cigarettes. There’s clearly more to this issue than e-cigarettes.”


The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit

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