Beverly Hills, Calif.’s Tobacco Sales Ban Now In Effect, Cigar Lounges Remain Exempt

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One of the most restrictive pieces of anti-tobacco legislation in the country has gone into effect, as retailers in Beverly Hills are now prohibited from selling tobacco products as well as e-cigarettes and related paraphernalia. However, there remains two notable exceptions to the law: hotels are allowed to sell tobacco products to registered guests through a concierge service, and the city’s three cigar lounges are allowed to sell tobacco products to their customers.

The law was passed in June 2019, and garnered national attention both for its aggressive approach to curtailing tobacco usage in the city as well as for its exemptions.

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At the time of its passage, the city had approximately 30 tobacco retailers, ranging from the aforementioned cigar lounges to convenience stores, gas stations and grocery stores. Those retailers were granted the option to apply for one hardship exemption from the law, particularly if they can show that the ban will cause significant hardship to the license holder in recovering his or her investment backed expectations.

“This week begins an important new chapter in our ongoing effort to promote and protect public health,” said Mayor Lester Friedman in a press release. “It was over 30 years ago that Beverly Hills became the first city in California to prohibit smoking inside restaurants. Since then, we have continued to implement policies that will ultimately save lives. Thank you to all who worked to bring us to this extraordinary day.”

With the ordinance going into effect, it also starts the clock on a three-year period that will lead to a review of the ordinance’s effectiveness and its effects on local businesses and tourism.

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About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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