Beverly Hills becomes first U.S. city to ban tobacco sales

SAN FRANCISCO - MARCH 09: Shop owner Izzat Asfour sells a pack of cigarettes to a customer March 9, 2006 in San Francisco. Sales of cigarettes in the U.S. in 2005 hit a 55-year low, falling more than 21 percent since state attorneys general negotiated an historic settlement with the …
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June 5 (UPI) — One of the wealthiest communities in California has become the first city in the United States to ban the sale of tobacco products, after councilors approved a new law that will take effect in 2021.

The city of Beverly Hills passed the new law Tuesday. While it doesn’t bar smoking inside city limits, it prohibits any business from selling tobacco products beginning Jan. 21, 2021. The new ordinance exempts existing cigar lounges and will allow hotels to sell such products to guests.

Councilors said they will consider hardship exemptions for businesses that can prove the law will create an undue burden, and review the ban’s impact on tourism in three years.

The new law is the latest effort by the city to improve the health of those who live and work there. It already has a program that provides a smoking cessation program free of charge to Beverly Hills residents and workers. The city said it’s also collecting information about the effects of smoking and secondhand smoke in Beverly Hills city limits.

Beverly Hills already bans smoking in some public places.

Some retailers argue a ban on sales will simply shift them to neighboring jurisdictions like Los Angeles and West Hollywood. The National Association of Tobacco Outlets said businesses that sell tobacco may see their income fall as much as 45 percent.

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