All tobacco retailers in the southern California city of Manhattan Beach will likely have to get an additional license to do business, as the city council unanimously approved the first reading of a proposal on Tuesday night.
The move comes in an attempt to limit the number of tobacco shops in the city of some 35,000 residents, in turn reducing the exposure of youth to tobacco products. If approved at its scheduled second reading on Dec. 1, stores selling tobacco must be at least 500 feet apart from each other as well as from a school. Flavored tobacco and electronic smoking devices would be prohibited from being sold except in menthol and other mint flavors, unless the store is limited to persons age 18 and over, according to EasyReaderNews.com. Several existing stores who would not be in compliance with the minimum separation distance would be grandfathered in and their licenses allowed to be transferred should the business be sold.
Additionally, stores would be required to keep all tobacco products and electronic cigarettes out of public view and discontinue self-service displays unless the retailer primarily sells tobacco products or electronic cigarettes; generates more than 60% of revenue from annual sale of these products; does not allow anyone under the age of 18 to enter; does not sell alcoholic beverages or food for consumption on the premises; and posts signage stating that those under 18 are not allowed to enter.
The proposal originally called for a minimum distance of 1,000 feet, but the council trimmed that after hearing from a number of local retailers who said that would destroy their businesses. While the fee has not yet been set, it is slated to be between $400 and $600 per year. Stores who violate the requirement would be subject to having their licenses revoked.
If passed, the requirements would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, with a 90-day compliance period beginning that same day.