Tobacco use in the District of Columbia 2019
Cigarette use: District of Columbia*
Cigarette use in Washington DC
- In 2017, 14.4% of adults smoked. Nationally, the rate was 17.1%.1
- In 2017, 8.1% of high school students in the District of Columbia smoked cigarettes on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 8.8%.2,3
Other tobacco product use: District of Columbia
E-cigarette and smokeless tobacco use in Washington DC
- In 2017, 2.3% of adults used e-cigarettes and 1.1% used smokeless tobacco.4
- In 2017, 10.9% of high school students in the District of Columbia used electronic vapor products on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 13.2%.3
- In 2017, 10.5% of high school students in the District of Columbia smoked cigars, cigarillos or little cigars on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, the rate was 8.0%.3
Economics of tobacco use and tobacco control
Economics of tobacco use in Washington DC
- D.C. received $72.9 million (estimated) in revenue from tobacco settlement payments and taxes in fiscal year 2019.5
- Of this, the city allocated $1.9 million in city funds to tobacco prevention in fiscal year 2019, 17.8% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual spending target.5
- Smoking-related health care costs: $391 million per year.5
- Smoking-related losses in productivity: $280.4 million per year.6
District of Columbia tobacco laws
Cigarette tax in Washington DC
- D.C is ranked 1st in the U.S. for its cigarette tax of $4.50 per pack (enacted October 2018), compared to the national average of $1.81. (Missouri has the lowest tax at $0.17).7-9
- All other tobacco products are taxed at 96% 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.8
- E-cigarettes are included in the city’s definition of smoking.10
Youth access laws
- The minimum age of sale for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, is 21. Penalties exist for minors and merchants who violate this law.7,8
- 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.11
Quitting statistics and benefits
Quitting statistics in Washington DC
- The CDC estimates 56.4% of daily adult smokers in D.C. quit smoking for one or more days in 2017.4
- In 2014, the Affordable Care Act required that Medicaid programs cover all quit medications.8**
- The D.C. quit line invests $3.80 per smoker, compared to the national average of $2.21.8
- D.C. does not have a private insurance mandate provision for quitting tobacco.8
Notes and references
Updated April 2019
* 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, 2017.
2. District of Columbia Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2017.
3. CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2017.
4. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System, 2017.
5. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Broken Promises to Our Children: a State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 20 Years Later FY2019, 2018.
6. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Toll of Tobacco in the United States.
7. American Lung Association, State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues (SLATI).
8. American Lung Association, State of Tobacco Control, 2019.
9. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. State Cigarette Excise Tax Rates & Rankings. https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/factsheets/0097.pdf.
10. Public Health Law Center. U.S. E-Cigarette Regulation: 50-State Review. http://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/resources/us-e-cigarette-regulations-50-state-review.
11. Knock Tobacco Out of the Park. https://tobaccofreebaseball.org/.