Beverly Hills, an ultra-chic suburb of Los Angeles, is getting ready to ban any sale of tobacco or other nicotine-based products … except in the private cigar-lovers clubs that embody the city of stars and luxury .
The bill was adopted on Tuesday at first reading unanimously by the city council, on the recommendation of the commission for health and safety. „This reflects the values of our community,“ sums up in a statement sent to AFP John Mirisch, the mayor of Beverly Hills, a small town of about 35,000 inhabitants, devoid of hospital or cemetery on its territory.
The city council, however, received nearly 150 letters asking that the three cigar bars located on the territory of the municipality can continue to sell tobacco.
Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, also a former governor of California, is one of them. He regularly attends the Grand Havana Room, a very exclusive club for chair-bar fans, of which he is a „member since its opening“. „It is unthinkable that the city could adopt a policy that would provoke, intentionally or not, the closure of such a symbolic institution,“ wrote the former champion of bodybuilding.
Because he sees a „fundamental difference“ between these private clubs and the gas stations, grocery stores, newsagents, and pharmacies that, if the law is definitely passed, should stop selling cigarettes (conventional or electronic), pipe tobacco or chewing and cigars, as of January 1, 2021.
„I am very familiar with the adverse effects (of tobacco) on health, which is why I support the general prohibition“ to sell in Beverly Hills, adds in his letter Dr. Richard Shemin, specialist in cardiac surgery.But the doctor goes to the Grand Havana Room „several times a week to relax and enjoy a cigar“. He therefore thinks „that adults going to private clubs should be allowed to make these personal choices“ and that the ban should not apply to them.
The municipal council has obviously been receptive to these arguments because the law, which should be voted definitively on June 4, exempts cigar bars taking into account that they are attended only by adults over 21 who have chose to smoke or expose themselves to passive smoking.
Beverly Hills has already imposed drastic restrictions on the use of tobacco on its territory: it prohibits for example smoking in queues, vehicles stopped or in which there are minors, parks and gardens, on sidewalks unless „actively moving“, etc.
The cigarette is even banned from apartments and other collective buildings.