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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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D.C. Council bill could increase age to buy cigarettes to 21

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Robin Eberhardt.

A D.C. Council member proposed a bill that would increase the minimum age to buy or possess cigarettes in D.C. to 21 years in a bill proposed last week.

Ward 5 Council member Kenyan McDuffie cited medical reports that said delaying exposure to tobacco will decrease the chances of a person smoking later in life, and wrote in release that changing the smoking law could help keep D.C.’s young people from developing a “deadly habit.”

“This legislation is our best tool to prevent adolescents from smoking, both presently and in the future as adults,” McDuffie said a release.

Five other Council members have co-sponsored the bill, said Jon Mandel, the communications director for McDuffie’s office. He said that McDuffie is hoping to have the bill passed within the next two years, within this Council cycle.

McDuffie introduced a similar bill in 2013 that would have just increased the age to buy tobacco products to 21, but it did not pass through the Council.

Needham, Mass. passed a similar law 10 years ago, and saw decreased rates of self-reported tobacco use by high school students in the city. New York City also passed similar legislation last year, according to the release. In August 2013, GW banned smoking within 25 feet of campus buildings.

McDuffie also introduced a bill last week that that would ban the sale of powdered alcohol, or “Palcohol,” in the District. The federal government recently approved the sale of the powder, which makes alcoholic beverages when it is dissolved in water.

“Such products are easily concealed and can also be used inconspicuously to ‘spike’ an individual’s drink, which creates a dangerous situation I want to prevent at all costs,” McDuffie said in the release.

Several other states like Delaware and Vermont have banned the sale of the substance already.

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