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07/23/2021

Washington, D.C. Bans the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products

Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Flavored Tobacco Product Prohibition Amendment Act of 2021 on July 21.
tobacco sales at retail

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The clock is ticking on the sale of flavored tobacco products in Washington, D.C.

On July 21, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed into law the Flavored Tobacco Product Prohibition Amendment Act of 2021. The District of Columbia Council approved a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, on June 15. The measure exempts bars and restaurants that offer hookah.

"To attack disparities in health outcomes and ensure all Washingtonians, no matter where they live in our city, have the same opportunities to live long, healthy lives, we must think and act broadly," Bowser said.

The mayor added that reducing tobacco use is a health equity issue.

"We know that black residents are disproportionately affected by tobacco use, and flavored tobacco, including menthol, continues to have a particularly insidious effect on our community," Bowser said. "Today, we take a hugely impactful step to reducing tobacco initiation and addiction in Washington, D.C."

Flavor bans, including menthol, have grown among local and state lawmakers. Notably, San Francisco became the first city to pass a ban on menthol in 2017 — a move the voters upheld in a June 2018 election. Massachusetts became the first state to implement similar legislation statewide in June 2020.