WASHINGTON - Tobacco is once again a target for lawmakers in the District. This time, city leaders want to stop smokeless tobacco use at sporting events and to stop sales of tobacco to people under the age of 21.
Currently, the law allows people 18 or older to buy tobacco products in D.C.
On Thursday, Councilmembers Yvette Alexander and Mary Cheh held a news conference before a public hearing to discuss both tobacco measures. Both said there has been little resistance to the measures and a lot of people have stepped up to support them.
They also said these two measures are focused on keeping kids from getting addicted to a product that can cause health problems.
“Smokeless tobacco is strongly associated with playing sports, and specifically baseball,” said Alexander (D-Ward 7). “These athletes often serve as role models for our youth.”
“We know clearly that tobacco, in either smoking or smokeless tobacco form, is highly dangerous and highly addictive,” said Cheh (D-Ward 3). “I wish we had in front of us some of the pictures of the cancers of the lip, the tongue, the mouth, the throat and other cancers caused by this smokeless tobacco. It’s horrible.”
This was just the first public hearing on both matters, but Alexander says she hasn't heard any resistance from other members on the council.
Smokeless tobacco has also been banned at ballparks in other major cities such as Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.