LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — D.C. Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie is looking to add the District to the growing list of cities where you must be 21 or older to purchase cigarettes.

If passed, the legislation would be just one more step in the city’s stand against tobacco. Smoking in indoor workplaces, including restaurants and bars, was banned in D.C. in 2006. In October, the council passed a bill prohibiting smoking in parks and bus shelters.

“Raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 will decrease access to cigarettes, and, more importantly, may decrease the rate of smoking in young adults,” McDuffie said in a statement.

The New York City council approved a similar bill last week.

McDuffie also referenced Needham, Mass., saying the town raised its smoking age to 21 seven years ago and that the rate of self-reported tobacco use by high school students there has declined significantly since then.

“We have an obligation to stay on the leading edge of smoking prevention strategies here in the District,” McDuffie says.

“By restricting tobacco sales to young people, we can prevent many of our youth from acquiring a terrible, deadly addiction. Research shows that delaying access to tobacco products is an effective means of long-term smoking prevention.”

McDuffie plans to introduce the bill at Tuesday’s council meeting.


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