The free sample is a staple of many cigar events, but it could become a thing of the past in San Jose, Calif. if the city council decides to act on a proposed ordinance at its meeting on Tuesday night.
Up for debate is an ordinance known as “Butt Out of Bars” which seeks to prevent the sampling of cigarettes and chewing tobacco or snus at bars in the city, yet language in the ordinance provides for no exemption for cigar stores and would in theory prevent premium cigar retailers from offering free samples to customers, either with purchase or without. It would also prevent offering coupons that would mark down the cost to twenty-five percent of the full retail value of the item exclusive of taxes and fees.
The ordinance also includes electronic cigarettes and other nicotine delivery devices.
San Jose is the third largest city in California with a population just over 1,015,000 people.
Update (June 2, 7:42pm ET) — The San Jose City Council passed the bill today by a vote of 9-2 according to the San Jose Mercury.