The Beverly Hills City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to end most tobacco sales — becoming the first U.S. city to snuff out sales of tobacco products.
The City Council voted 5-0 to end the sales of cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco and other tobacco products beginning in 2021. The ban will cover tobacco sales at gas stations, pharmacies, convenience and grocery stores.
However, it exempts hotels and three plush cigar lounges in the wealthy Los Angeles suburb. The hotel exemption was designed to accommodate tourists, who could have a concierge deliver their preferred tobacco product. However, patrons will have to smoke outside.
Lili Bosse, a council member, said before the vote that she believed the ban would highlight the city’s reputation of being a “healthy place” and thought other cities would consider their own bans.
“I thought this was just truly a landmark moment for our city, for our community,” Bosse said.
However, some criticized the move, including gas station owners who said it unfairly targeted their businesses and might force employee layoffs. The National Association of Tobacco Outlets claimed businesses that sold tobacco products in the city might see monthly income fall from 25 percent to 45 percent, CNBC reported.
About 14 percent of U.S. adults smoke despite decades of tax hikes, smoking bans and public health campaigns aimed at reducing the deadly habit. Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.