If you happen to be driving down Rodeo Blvd in Beverly Hills and have a cigarette craving, you'll have to keep driving after the city council approved a measure to ban most tobacco sales in the city.
The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the ordnance aimed at prohibiting the sale of cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products at gas stations, pharmacies, convenience and grocery stores. The new law goes into effect beginning January 1, 2021.
"This reflects the values of our community," Mayor John Mirisch said. "We are a city that has taken the lead on restricting smoking and promoting public health. Somebody has to be first, so let it be us."
Existing cigar lounges have been exempted from the ban as have hotels - those will be the only places in the city where you can buy tobacco products starting in 2021. City leaders also promised to review the new law's impact on tourism three years from now.
Opponents to the law say it won't do much to reduce tobacco usage. Thomas Briant, the executive director for the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, said adults will simply drive to a nearby city to get their nicotine fix.
"It is likely that convenience stores in Beverly Hills will close because they rely on in-store tobacco sales for about one-third of their gross sales," said Briant.
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