Beverly Hills votes unanimously to ban most tobacco sales

It's the first U.S. city to enact such a ban.

June 5, 2019, 3:00 AM

The City Council of Beverly Hills, California, voted unanimously on Tuesday to ban, beginning in 2021, almost all sales of tobacco products.

Cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes will no longer be sold at gas stations, pharmacies, convenience stores or by grocers, according to The Associated Press.

Exempted from the ban are hotels and three cigar lounges in the tony Los Angeles suburb, the AP reported. The hotel carve-out was made to help accommodate tourists, but they'll still have to go smoke outside.

It's the first such ban in the U.S.

A smoker snuffs out a cigarette at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., June 22, 2012.
Rich Pedroncelli/AP, FILE

Many gas station owners who opposed the bill said their businesses were being targeted unfairly, while advocates for public health said the gains would far outweigh the costs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 249 billion cigarettes were sold in the U.S. in 2017, a 3.5% decrease from 2016. About 12 billion cigars were sold in 2015.

Illnesses related to smoking incur costs of more than $300 billion annually, according to the CDC. About $170 billion is spent on direct medical care, with approximately $156 billion lost in productivity -- including $5.6 billion solely because of second-hand smoke.

World Bank data from 2017, the most recent year available, show those costs are more than the Gross Domestic Product of Chile ($277 billion), Finland ($252 billion) or Portugal ($219 billion).