BEVERLY HILLS (AP/CBSLA) — 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 was recommended by the Beverly Hills City Council on Tuesday night that would exempt only three existing high-end cigar lounges.
The unanimous decision moves the city a step closer to banning the sale of tobacco products starting on Jan. 21, 2021.
A first reading of the ordinance and a formal council vote will take place on May 21 with a second reading and final vote scheduled for June 4.
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.
In 1987, Beverly Hills banned smoking at most restaurants, retail stores and at public meetings. Over the years the city significantly expanded regulations regarding where smoking is allowed.
In 2017, the city passed an ordinance prohibiting smoking in all multi-unit housing.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)