Yesterday, the Council of the District of Columbia voted in favor of banning flavored tobacco. The vote was 9-3 with one member voting as present.
This was the first reading, meaning the measure will need to pass a second reading—likely later this month—and will then need to be signed into law by Mayor Muriel Bowser.
If approved, Bill 24-20 would ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, as well as flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products. It would also ban the sale and distribution of electronic smoking devices within a quarter-mile of a middle school or high school.
While there’s an exemption in the bill that would still allow for the sale of flavored hookah products, it would ban the sale of all flavored cigars in Washington, D.C.
Those caught purchasing flavored tobacco products could be subject to a fine of $25, while those businesses caught selling flavored tobacco products could face penalties of $10,000 per violation, a suspension of the tobacco sales license for the first and second violations, and a revocation of the license for a third or subsequent violation.
D.C.’s interim chief financial officer estimated that if passed the bill would reduce revenues by $3 million in FY2022 and $13.9 million over the course of the next four years. As such, the Council would also need to also approve the money needed to pay for the ban.
If passed, the bill would take effect 30 days after it is signed by the mayor.
Update (July 1, 2021) — The council passed the second reading by an 8-5 vote, and the ban now goes to Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has indicated support for it and is expected to sign it into law.