DC Council advances anti-tobacco bill

WASHINGTON — The D.C. City Council moved forward Tuesday with a bill to raise the age of legal tobacco use from 18 to 21 and restrict its public use.

Despite the objections of three council members, including Chairman Phil Mendelson, the bill passed, making it a civil offense for anyone under 21 years of age to possess tobacco, and a criminal offense to purchase tobacco.

“We have a sliding scale regarding what is adulthood,” Mendelson said. “That’s what we’re doing here. We’re sliding that scale from 18 to 21 with regard to smoking a cigarette.”

The Council also approved an ordinance ending the use of all tobacco products at organized sporting events, which includes a ban on vaping.

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, which supported the bill, said in a statement “As more cities become tobacco-free, it’s time for Major League Baseball and its players to accept the inevitable … set the right example for kids.”

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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