The tone was set…as heavy rain pelted against the windows, over 30 members of the DC Tobacco Free Coalition gathered at the John A. Wilson Building on April 28 to discuss a weighty tobacco control agenda. The plan was simple - to march to the DC Council and advocate for fully funding the DC Tobacco Control Program, increasing the tobacco purchase age to 21, restricting smokeless tobacco use in sports venues and treating electronic-cigarettes the same as other tobacco products. This was to be a pivotal ‘Day at DC Council.’
These dozens of DC residents banded together with the support of the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, and the American Lung Association. With the meetings set and the facts in hand nothing could dampen the spirit of this group of dedicated health advocates.
As meetings unfolded with Councilmembers, You’re the Cure advocates shared startling statistics:
- 95% of smokers start before age 21 and 12.5% of DC teens smoke
- The CDC recommends the District invest $10.7 million to support a comprehensive tobacco control program in the District, which is currently funded at only $1.34 million
- 800 District residents die from smoking related illnesses each year
- 800,000 packs of cigarettes are purchased by DC teens every year
One of the attendees, Neha A. said, “I was at DC Lobby Day because tobacco is a very important issue that effects everyone - users and non-users. Besides the critical fact that current tobacco control funding is far below ideal, it was important for me to emphasize the impact of tobacco exposure and use on the youth/teenage population as well as dispel myths about electronic cigarettes.”
Day at DC Council was just the start! All You’re the Cure advocates are encouraged to make their voices heard and urge the Council to support tobacco control when they consider the FY17 budget on May 17. Click here to add your voice!
Hear inspiring messages from advocates on the scene at our Day at DC Council: