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Tobacco use in the District of Columbia 2017

CIGARETTE USE

  • In 2015, the prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults in the District of Columbia was 16.0%. Nationally, the prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults was 17.5%.
  • In 2013, 14.0% of high school students in the District of Columbia smoked cigarettes on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, 15.7% of high school students smoked cigarettes on at least one day in the past 30 days.

Graph showing smoking rates in Washington DC compared to the national average

OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCT USE

  • The prevalence of smokeless tobacco use among adults in the District of Columbia was 1.8% in 2014.
  • In 2015, 11.5% 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, 10.3% of high school students smoked cigars, cigarillos, or little cigars on at least one day in the past 30 days.
  • In 2015, 13.4% of high school students in the District of Columbia used electronic vapor products on at least one day in the past 30 days. Nationally, 24.1% of high school students used electronic vapor products on at least one day in the past 30 days.

Graph showing other tobacco product use among High School students in Washington DC

ECONOMICS OF TOBACCO USE AND TOBACCO CONTROL

  • In FY2017, the District of Columbia allocated $1.0 million in state funds to tobacco prevention, which is 9.3% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Annual Spending Target.
  • The District of Columbia received an estimated $69.9 million in tobacco settlement payments and taxes in FY2017.
  • The health care costs in the District of Columbia, directly caused by smoking, amount to $391 million annually.
  • The District of Columbia loses $280.4 million in productivity each year due to smoking.

TOBACCO LAWS

EXCISE TAXWashington DC Cigarette Tax

  • The tax increased to $2.50 per pack of cigarettes in October 2009. The District of Columbia is ranked 13th in the United States for its cigarette tax. The national average cigarette tax is $1.71 per pack of cigarettes. The highest state cigarette tax is New York ($4.35) and the lowest state cigarette tax is Missouri ($0.17).
  • Little cigars are taxed at $0.125 per cigar. All other tobacco products are taxed 67% of the wholesale price.

CLEAN INDOOR AIR ORDINANCES

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

YOUTH ACCESS LAWS

  • The minimum age requirement for the purchase of tobacco products is 21, and penalties exist for both minors and merchants who violate this law.
  • Establishments are required to post signs stating that sales to minors are prohibited.

BASEBALL STADIUM LAWS

  • The use of tobacco is prohibited at organized sporting events, including professional venues.

CESSATION STATISTICS AND BENEFITS

  • The CDC estimates that 60.3% of adult every day smokers in the District of Columbia quit smoking for one or more days in 2015.
  • The Affordable Care Act requires all Medicaid programs cover all tobacco cessation medications beginning January 1, 2014. 
  • The District of Columbia’s quitline invests $5.41 per smoker; the national average investment per smoker is $3.46.
  • The District of Columbia does not have a private insurance mandate provision for cessation.

DOWNLOAD THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FACT SHEET

*last updated: May 1, 2017