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Fact Sheet Fact Sheet

Tobacco use in the District of Columbia 2018

District of Columbia cigarette use among adults and high school students

Cigarette use: District of Columbia*

  • In 2016, 14.7 percent of adults smoked. Nationally, the rate was 17.1 percent.¹
  • In 2017, 8.1 percent of high school students smoked on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 8.8 percent.² ³

Other tobacco product use: District of Columbia

  • In 2015, 1.3 percent of adults used e-cigarettes and 3.0 percent smoked cigars.
  • In 2017, 10.9 percent of high school students used e-cigarettes and 10.5 percent smoked cigars on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rates were 13.2 percent and 8.0 percent, respectively.³
District of Columbia other tobacco product use among adults and high school students

Economics of tobacco use and tobacco control

  • D.C. received $68.1 million (estimated) in tobacco settlement payments and taxes in fiscal year 2018.
  • Of this, the city allocated $931,585 in city funds to tobacco prevention in fiscal year 2018, just 8.7 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual spending target.
  • Smoking-related health care costs: $391 million per year
  • Smoking-related losses in productivity: $280.4 million per year

District of Columbia tobacco laws

Tobacco taxes

District of Columbia 2018 tobacco taxes
  • D.C is ranked 13th in the U.S. for its cigarette tax of $2.50 per pack (enacted October 2009), compared to the national average of $1.73. (Connecticut and New York have the highest tax at $4.35 and Missouri has the lowest at $0.17).⁷ ⁸ ⁹
  • All other tobacco products are taxed at 70 percent of the manufacturer’s list price.⁷ ⁸

Clean indoor air ordinances

  • Smoking is prohibited in all government workplaces, private workplaces, schools, childcare facilities, restaurants, bars (allowed in cigar/tobacco bars and allows for an economic hardship waiver), retail stores and recreational/cultural facilities.

Youth access laws

  • The minimum age of sale for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, is 18. Penalties exist for minors and merchants who violate this law.7,8 D.C. approved Tobacco 21 legislation in 2016, but funding was not included in the city's budget so the measure did not take effect.
  • Establishments are required to post signs stating that sales to minors are prohibited.⁷ ⁸

Baseball stadium laws

  • Tobacco use is prohibited at organized sporting events, including professional venues.¹⁰

Quitting statistics and benefits

  • The CDC estimates 54.3 percent of daily adult smokers in D.C. quit smoking for one or more days in 2016.¹¹
  • In 2014, the Affordable Care Act required that Medicaid programs cover all quit medications.**
  • The D.C. quit line invests $4.36 per smoker, compared to the national average of $2.10.
  • D.C. does not have a private insurance mandate provision for quitting tobacco.

Notes and references

Updated June 2018

* National and state-level prevalence numbers reflect the most recent data available. This may differ across state fact sheets.

** The seven recommended cessation medications are NRT gum, NRT patch, NRT nasal spray, NRT inhaler, NRT lozenge, Varenicline (Chantix) and Bupropion (Zyban). Fiore MC, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service: May 2008.

  1. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2016.
  2. District of Columbia Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2017.
  3. CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2017.
  4. CDC, State-Specific Prevalence of Tobacco Product Use Among Adults - United States, 2014-2015, MMWR.
  5. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Broken Promises to Our Children: a State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 19 Years Later FY2018, 2017.
  6. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Toll of Tobacco in the United States, 2018.
  7. American Lung Association, SLATI State Reports, 2017.
  8. American Lung Association, State of Tobacco Control, 2018.
  9. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, State Cigarette Excise Tax Rates & Rankings, 2018.
  10. Knock Tobacco Out of the Park.
  11. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System, 2016.