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Prince George’s County Council Vice Chair Wala Blegay, Esq., (District 6), during Council session on Tuesday, March 14th, introduced Council Bill-031-2023, legislation limiting the floor area dedicated to the display and sales of tobacco products in convenience stores, gas stations, and tobacco shops. Co-sponsors of the proposed measure include Council Members Jolene Ivey (District 5) and Krystal Oriadha (District 7).
Council Vice Chair Blegay expressed strong concern over the current marketing and sales of tobacco products in Prince George’s County.
“The health and well-being of Prince Georgians is an utmost priority for this Council, and we must send a strong message to tobacco shops and those masking as ‘convenience stores’ that primarily sell tobacco products. We want quality, healthy retail in our County, and residents are tired of the marketing tactics being used to sell highly addictive and deadly tobacco products in our community.”
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids factsheet, tobacco companies have historically targeted minority communities—particularly Black communities—with intense marketing efforts. The Campaign reports an estimated 45,000 Black Americans die every year from smoking-related illnesses.
If enacted, the new law would take effect on January 1, 2026, giving convenience stores, gas stations, and tobacco shops time to make the required adjustments, preventing these establishments from experiencing unreasonable economic losses.
CB-031-2023 has been referred to the Council’s Planning, Housing, and Economic Development committee for legislative review.