Will a city’s ban on tobacco sales catch on across the nation?
The Beverly Hills City Council has approved an ordinance that will prohibit the sale of tobacco products and e-cigarettes beginning in 2021. In doing so, Beverly Hills will become the first municipality in the nation to ban the sale of tobacco.
The measure, which passed unanimously, will make it illegal for convenience stores, drugstores, gas stations and grocery stores to sell the prohibited products to consumers.
The ordinance will exempt three currently operating upscale cigar lounges and hotels in Beverly Hills, according to an Associated Press report. The exemption was made as an accommodation to tourists visiting the city. Smoking will continue to be prohibited inside hotels. Smokers must go outside to light up.
Opponents of the measure have argued that retailers prohibited from selling tobacco products could see monthly income fall up to 45 percent when it goes into effect. They also contend that consumers of tobacco products will simply drive to other nearby towns to purchase the banned items.
CNBC reports that Manhattan Beach and other nearby communities may also be planning to vote on similar bans to the one passed in Beverly Hills. Some beachside communities already prohibit smoking in public areas.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking-related illnesses and productivity losses cost the U.S. economy around $330 billion a year. Of the total, $5.6 billion are costs related to second-hand smoke.
- Beverly Hills votes to end most tobacco sales – The Associated Press
- Beverly Hills votes to outlaw tobacco sales in ordinance believed to be first of its kind in US – CNBC
- Beverly Hills votes unanimously to ban most tobacco sales – ABC News
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think cities and towns outside of California are likely to pass tobacco ban ordinances similar Beverly Hills? How do you think retailers should respond to the public health concerns around tobacco products and e-cigarettes?