Beverly Hills becomes first U.S. city to ban tobacco sales
The Beverly Hills City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to make it the first U.S. city to ban the sale of cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.
The ban applies to gas stations, pharmacies, convenience and grocery stores, but includes exemptions for hotels and three local cigar lounges. It is set to take effect beginning in 2021.
"Allowing tobacco products to be sold in the city increases access to these harmful and dangerous products and does not promote the city's image as a healthy city," the ordinance reads, CNBC reported.
Local business owners opposed the measure, arguing it would harm sales and could force employee layoffs.
Meanwhile public health advocates argued that the benefits to public health outweigh the negative impact a ban could have on retail sales.
Council Member Lili Bosse said the ban aligns with Beverly Hills' image as a healthy city, according to CNBC.
"I thought this was just truly a landmark moment for our city, for our community," she said, according to the report.
Thomas Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, said the ban unfairly penalizes local gas stations and convenience stores.
Tobacco products make up more than a third of convenience stores' in-store sales, he said. "When you remove those in-store sales, the profitability is no longer there," he told CBS News. "We believe this will cause convenience stores in Beverly Hills to layoff employees and likely close their doors."
He said the ordinance will force consumers to buy their tobacco products in neighboring towns and cities, where they will also purchase their gasoline, beverages and snacks. "It's going to further reduce sales at convenience stores and that's why you will likely see them close," he said.