Beverly Hills Becomes First U.S. City To Outlaw Tobacco

Published on June 7, 2019

Smokers in Beverly Hills may have a hard time in the near future when trying to buy tobacco products. The city has become the first in the United States outlaw the sale of tobacco nearly completely thanks to a new law that was voted in by local legislation this week. The Beverly Hills City Council voted unanimously to outlaw the sale of tobacco and other smoking and nicotine products in the city, with just a few exceptions.

All About The New Tobacco Law

Beverly Hills has been fighting smokers and smoking for years now, as the city has been working hard to tighten the rules regarding where and when people can smoke within its limits. Organizations like the American Lung Association has given Beverly Hills a shining A grade for its laws that limit smoking in the city. Now, the decision to take those regulations a step further and outlaw tobacco sales altogether put Beverly Hills far ahead of any other city in the country in regards to its attitude toward smokers.

Not everyone is happy about the new law though. The National Organization of Tobacco Outlets has spoken publicly against the ban, citing that local convenience stores may face significant losses in profit over an all-out tobacco ban. “Adults will simply drive to adjacent cities to purchase their preferred tobacco products,” said the executive director of the National Organization of Tobacco Outlets, Thomas Briant, in a statement to CNN. “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,” Briant continued.

However, the Beverly Hills city council argues that the benefits of banning the sale of tobacco products will encourage people not to smoke, or not to start smoking. The city feels that there are more public health benefits to the law than there are incentives to maintain the sale of tobacco within the city. If smokers have to drive a couple of extra miles to buy tobacco products, so be it.

Other Tobacco Crackdowns

Beverly Hills isn’t the only city tightening regulations on tobacco and tobacco products. With a massive spike in sales on electronic cigarettes over the last few years, national regulators are looking at how they can fight what is being called a whole new epidemic of young smokers that were previously not addicted to nicotine. With electronic cigarettes especially, a spike in sales has led to concern that younger people are getting addicted from a young age.

In recent months, the United States government has cracked down on how companies like Juul are allowed to advertise. The company was previously advertising to a younger demographic and let people order the products easily off of the internet. This led to a major spike in underage smoking among teens that were able to purchase the products with little to no oversight. In response, Juul has amped up its advertising toward an older demographic, changing the focus from obtaining new users to shifting smokers from cigarettes into electronic cigarettes.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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