BEVERLY HILLS—A popular cigar club visited by actor, bodybuilder and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger could be excluded from the city of Beverly Hills’ new tobacco ban.

Beverly Hills has worked to rid the city of tobacco, adopting approaches to ensure the city’s health for the past three decades. In 1987, Beverly Hills was the first city to ban smoking in any restaurant or public area. In 2007, it reduced space allotted for smokers in outdoor venues.

On May 7, the city of Beverly Hills announced it would enforce the prohibition of the sale of any tobacco product starting January 1, 2021. Since the announcement, 145 letters were sent to the BH Health & Safety Commission committee to advocate “for an exemption (to any future ban) for all cigar lounges in the city,” the Beverly Hills agenda report states.

One of the letters sent to the Health & Safety Commission came from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who expressed his personal concern regarding the ordinance.

“The Grand Havana Room … provides a treasured home away from home,” Schwarzenegger states in the letter.

While smoking is prohibited almost everywhere in the city, the city’s prestigious cigar lounges have provided a refuge for smokers until the City Council approved the draft of an ordinance prohibiting the sale of tobacco.  

Schwarzenegger’s views on tobacco do not differ from those of the Beverly Hills City Council.

“When it comes to public health and fitness, and creating a healthy future for our children, I am right there with you,” the actor writes in the letter. 

Under the proposed ordinance, cigar lounges would be exempt and hotels will only be able to sell tobacco products through concierge services. All gas stations, convenient stores, newsstands, and pharmacies will not be able to sell tobacco products starting January 1, 2021. Sidewalks, streets, and alleyways are all permitted smoking areas as long as one is actively traveling in Beverly Hills.

A second reading and final vote on the proposed ordinance is expected on Tuesday, June 4 which will decide the future of the city’s cigar lounges.