Beverly Hills might develop into first US metropolis to outlaw all tobacco gross sales


Beverly Hills Metropolis Corridor in Beverly Hills, California on January 13, 2018.

Raymond Boyd | Michael Ochs Archives | Getty Photographs

LOS ANGELES — The Beverly Hills Metropolis Council will think about a first-in-the-nation ban on all tobacco gross sales subsequent Tuesday.

The ordinance would apply to cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco and digital cigarettes offered in gasoline stations, comfort shops, pharmacies and grocery shops. Motels and high-end cigar lounges are exempt beneath the proposed measure.

Critics of the measure argue it will shift gross sales of tobacco to neighboring jurisdictions akin to town of Los Angeles and damage native small companies. However supporters contend it will promote wholesome residing and ship a message in regards to the dangers of tobacco use.

“We’re a metropolis that has been type of within the forefront of smoking controls and our tobacco coverage on the whole,” Mayor John Mirisch instructed CNBC in an interview this week. “Finally, public well being can and may outweigh simply earnings or short-term enterprise choices.”

Again in 1987, Beverly Hills grew to become the first city in California to ban smoking in restaurants and retail shops, though it exempted accommodations. Additionally, the California metropolis generally known as a playground of the wealthy and well-known adopted an ordinance in 2017 to curb smoking in and round multi-unit residences akin to condominiums and flats.

“Provided that no different metropolis in the US has adopted a complete ban on all tobacco merchandise, town is more likely to face authorized challenges,” in response to a report ready for the mayor and Metropolis Council.

Mirisch expressed confidence the measure will cross subsequent week. A draft ordinance obtained assist final week from the council. To develop into regulation, the ordinance nonetheless would require a second studying and last vote by the council June 4.

Cigarettes are displayed on retailer cabinets Tuesday, Might 7, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Beverly Hills is contemplating outlawing the sale of tobacco merchandise, a transfer that might make the glamorous California metropolis the primary within the nation to enact such a ban.

AP Photograph | Jae C. Hong

“The bulk of the present retailers which have a tobacco license within the metropolis of Beverly Hills are your mom-and-pop gasoline stations, liquor shops, and different distributors that do promote tobacco merchandise,” stated Jaime Rojas, a West Coast guide for the Nationwide Affiliation of Tobacco Shops, a commerce affiliation representing greater than 30,000 retailers.

Rojas estimates the influence for native tobacco sellers might be a decline of 25% to 45% in month-to-month revenue. He stated a few of it’s from decrease gross sales of different merchandise, akin to water, snacks and gasoline.

“Nobody goes to enter a retailer simply to purchase tobacco merchandise, irrespective of how a lot they like their vendor,” stated Rojas. “It is only a matter of comfort. They’ll go to a spot the place they’ll get every part directly.”

Two dozen tobacco-selling institutions can be affected by the proposed ordinance. If permitted, the ban would take impact in 2021.

“This ban would have a big influence on us,” stated Nick Miller, operator of a gasoline station in Beverly Hills. He stated gross sales might fall by “greater than 30%” when factoring in different classes affected.

Below the proposed ordinance, accommodations can be exempt from the ban together with three upscale cigar lounges, together with the Grand Havana Room. The town obtained dozens of letters in assist of exempting cigar lounges, together with some from distinguished members.

“Nice cities are outlined by their nice individuals, locations and establishments, and the Grand Havana Room is a signature location the place these three issues come collectively in Beverly Hills,” actor and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote in a letter dated March 11 to a metropolis panel contemplating the tobacco ban.

Added the previous GOP governor: “It’s unthinkable that town may undertake a coverage that might deliberately or unintentionally trigger the closure of this character-defining establishment, and it shouldn’t achieve this.”

Miller criticized town’s plan to permit exemptions for high-end accommodations.

“The extent of hypocrisy that has been displayed right now by the Beverly Hills Council is simply astonishing,” Miller stated. “They’re permitting accommodations to keep up the sale of cigarettes as a result of apparently to any individual shopping for a $4,000 an evening room.”

Motels would solely be allowed to promote the tobacco merchandise to visitors by way of concierge companies. The Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce urged town to retain a lodge exemption, noting the significance of worldwide guests.

“Roughly 80% of our visitors had been from cities exterior of the US, many from cultures the place smoking is extra prevalent,” Chamber CEO Todd Johnson stated in a letter dated April 17 to town. “It’s our concern {that a} ban on tobacco gross sales will deter such guests, together with distinguished dignitaries, from staying in Beverly Hills, and can each damage lodge revenues upon which town relies upon in addition to encourage individuals to remain elsewhere.”

Author: Maxwell C.

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