Beverly Hills considering banning sale of tobacco products

California

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Beverly Hills is considering outlawing the sale of tobacco products, a move that would make the glamorous California city the first in the nation to enact such a ban.

A draft ordinance scheduled to go before the Beverly Hills City Council on Tuesday evening would exempt only three existing high-end cigar lounges.

A staff report prepared for the council cited the city’s advocacy of healthy living and outlined the extensive adverse effects of tobacco use.

“Given that no other city in the United States has adopted a comprehensive ban on all tobacco products, the city is likely to face legal challenges,” the report said, adding that there could be “substantial litigation expenses with the tobacco industry.”

Beverly Hills already forbids smoking in some locations and has banned sales of flavored tobacco.

In addition to the cigar lounges, there are 25 active city permits for sales of tobacco and electronic cigarettes in grocery stores, gas stations, hotels, convenience stores and pharmacies.

The report said there have been discussions on having small-business experts assist retailers in dealing with the impacts of a possible ban on revenue.

A joint letter from the chamber of commerce, the tourism bureau and a group representing the chic Rodeo Drive shopping district asserted that about 80 percent of visitors are from cities outside the U.S. where smoking remains popular.

“To staff’s knowledge, there is no reliable data available to accurately measure the extent to which tourism in Beverly Hills could be affected,” the city report noted.

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