BEVERLY HILLS—The city of Beverly Hills announced on Tuesday, December 29 that it will become tobacco free starting Friday, January 1, 2021. The city will ban almost all tobacco products in an effort to be health conscious, which begun with their fist smoking prohibition in open air dining restaurants in 1987. 

In June 2019, the Beverly Hills City Council unanimously approved and passed a new ordinance that will prohibit selling tobacco products throughout the city, which will take effect on New Year’s Day. It is the first tobacco ban in the nation with the city already implementing strict smoking regulations. Title 5 Chapter 4 of the Beverly Hills Municipal Code regulates smoking that prohibits smoking in public areas with exemption to designated areas, vehicles, and types of smoking. 

A few notable exemptions to the ordinance once in effect is tobacco may still be sold to hotel guests with a cigar bar and cigar lounges will still be able to operate and sell cigars. People may not smoke outside any of the three cigar lounges in Beverly Hills. 

Other forms of smoking, such as vaping or marijuana, the city of Beverly Hills accounts electronic cigarettes, cigarettes, and marijuana under the city’s ordinance and under Proposition 64. Proposition 64 which passed in California on November 8, 2016 and it states guidelines for the legalization to sell and personal use of marijuana for adults 21 years and older.

Under the new ordinance and the city’s existing smoking regulations, vaping and smoking tobacco products and marijuana will be prohibited to buy and sell. Beverly Hills currently does not have any dispensary retail shop, so any individual needing marijuana for medical consumption will need to have it delivered from another city. 

The city of Beverly Hills has been progressive in their anti-smoking regulations throughout the decades and the new ordinance is the next step to become a fully functioning anti-smoking city. In September 19, 2017, the Beverly Hills City Council approved a multi-unit housing ordinance that prohibits smoking in multi-unit residential areas. On January 29, 2018, Beverly Hills was awarded an “A” rating from the American Lung Association and was recognized as “one of 14 most improved cities” that year, according to a press release from the city.

In 2019, the city of Beverly Hills launched its partnership with Cedars-Sinai, to help provide a free smoking cessation program to residents living or working in Beverly Hills.

“The city is thrilled to partner with Cedars-Sinai on this important and lifesaving endeavor,” said Beverly Hills Mayor Julian Gold, MD. “This program will provide a personal and tailored approach to smoking cessation that addresses individual patient needs, which we believe will yield greater success.”

Key provisions of the ordinance includes:

  • Effective January 1, 2021, hotels, existing and future, may only sell to guests
  • Effective January 1, 2021, all other businesses shall stop selling tobacco products
  • An exemption/carve out for existing cigar lounges
  •  A limited temporary hardship exemption provision for retailers that demonstrate the ban would cause undue hardship
  • City Council review of the impacts in three years

“This week begins an important new chapter in our ongoing effort to promote and protect public health. 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,” said Mayor Lester Friedman.

Written By Kelvin Portillo and Diara Fowler