Beverly Hills could become first city in US to ban sale of all tobacco products

The City of Beverly Hills could soon become the first in the U.S. to ban the sale of all tobacco products.

At a City Council Study Session Tuesday, Mayor Julian Gold and Vice Mayor John Mirisch proposed the possibility of banning the sale of cigarettes and all tobacco products within the City.

"We've been on a path, on a trajectory, to see what we can do to protect our citizens against the harmful impacts of smoking," Mayor Gold said.

The Mayor, who is also a doctor, said roughly half a million people in the U.S. die of tobacco-related illnesses each year and believes Beverly Hills can be a leader in helping people to stop the use of tobacco by banning all sales.

The proposal was met by some objections. Specifically, from those who benefit from the tourism and hospitality industry in Beverly Hills, over concerns the ban could pose a negative impact on business.

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Within city limits, there are nearly 30 tobacco retailers that would be directly impacted should this proposal pass. Among those are cigar lounges, gas stations, grocery stores and convenience stores.

According to the Beverly Hills Municipal Code "tobacco products" include those containing, made or derived from tobacco or nicotine intended for human consumption. That includes cigarettes, pipe tobacco, cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco and smokeless tobacco. The definition also includes all electronic cigarettes and any component, part or accessory intended or reasonably expected to be used with a tobacco product, whether or not sold separately.

The City's definition excludes any tobacco cessation products that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Vice Mayor John Mirisch, who is set to become the Mayor of Beverly Hills in March when Mayor Julian Gold steps down, said he hopes to have the ordinance "on the books in three months."