The Beverly Hills City Council late Tuesday voted to outlaw sales of most tobacco products in a sweeping ordinance that is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.
It prohibits the sale of cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes sold in gas stations, convenience stores, pharmacies and grocery stores but exempts tobacco sales at high-end cigar lounges and hotels. According to theordinance, „Allowing tobacco products to be sold in the city increases access to these harmful and dangerous products and does not promote the city’s image as a healthy city.” The vote was unanimous. The ban is set to begin in 2021.
The Council’s members believe that outlawing tobacco sales is in step with Beverly Hills’ reputation as a healthy place and expressed confidence other cities will follow suit with their own bans. Some criticized the move, including gas station owners who said it unfairly targeted their businesses and might force employee layoffs. Arnold Schwarzenegger personally petitioned the city to exempt his favorite cigar lounge, The Grand Havana. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 249 billion cigarettes were sold in the U.S. in 2017 compared to about 12 billion in 2015.