DC Banned Flavored Cigarettes, Restricted Vape Sales: Here's How Stores Are Complying

The new law began in October 2022

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The 800+ businesses licensed to sell tobacco products in the District have been operating under new restrictions since October. The restrictions ban the sale of flavored cigarettes, such as menthol, as well as electronic cigarettes within a quarter-mile of any middle or high schools.

But are all the stores complying?

Shirley Kwan-Hui, interim director of D.C.'s Department of Licensing and Consumer said the agency has conducted 127 compliance checks and issued 29 citations since October.

“Less than 10% are out of compliance. The first offense is $2,500; second offense is $7,500 and the third offense is like $10,000. And we also have the ability to suspend and also revoke their licenses as well,” Kwan-Hui said.

While the number of citations issued is low, News4 visited several stores near schools that were selling e-cigarettes and vaping devices.

News4 asked an employee at one of those stores if it was legal to sell e-cigarettes close to a school. The employee said the stores are allowed to sell the products they had in stock before the ban went into effect.

According to Kwan-Hui, that is not correct. She recommended consumers check DLCP’s interactive map to see if a store is in the no-sale zone.

“So, they can easily identify a business and then they can report a violation to us, and they can go to our website and submit a complaint form,” Kwan-Hui said.

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