Beverly Hills Debates First U.S. Tobacco Ban

The California city seeks to be the first in the U.S. to outlaw the sale of tobacco products.

May 10, 2019

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.—Beverly Hills already restricts the sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products. But the City Council is proposing to take it further by outlawing the sale of tobacco products everywhere except for select cigar lounges and luxury hotels, where guests will be permitted to acquire cigarettes through concierge or room service, U.S. News reports.

California is one of 25 states that outlaws smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars, the Associated Press article reports. It also has one of the highest cigarette taxes in the country at nearly $3 a pack.

City Council members said they plan to pass the amended measure on May 21. If adopted, the ordinance would ban all tobacco products from groceries, pharmacies, hotels and gas stations between West Hollywood and Los Angeles for a population of 34,000.

Opponents worry that the measure will deter tourists and force convenience store owners to eliminate staff. The gas stations, pharmacies and other places offering modest jobs and cigarettes are tucked into corners just off Rodeo Drive and other fashionable streets. Only 28 sell tobacco products, according to the city staff report.