The Beverly Hills Health and Safety Commission, tasked by City Council to study and develop a proposal that could ban the sale of all tobacco products in the city, voted on Monday to exempt cigar lounges from such a measure.
By a vote of 4 to 1, commission members chose to recommend the “carve out” option that exempts the city’s three recognized cigar lounges in its draft ordinance to the Beverly Hills City Council. If City Council opts to adopt the commission’s recommendation when it finalizes its tobacco sales law, the city’s three recognized cigar lounges—Buena Vista Cigar Club, the Grand Havana Room, and Nazareth’s Fine Cigars—would be exempted and could continue to sell cigars as they do now.
“I believe in a total exemption for the three cigar lounges. … Based on their unique role in the city. Based on the fact that they only cater to adults. Based on the fact that they don’t sell cigarettes. Based on the fact that they don’t cater to children and don’t even let children in. Based on the fact that they leave a very small footprint,” said Gary Ross, chair of the commission, during Monday’s meeting. “They’re barely noticeable. And as two people said today, if we are going after the cigar clubs, we’re not being effective at eliminating the things from the people we are trying to keep them from, which is our children, ultimately.”
While no official legislation has been introduced, Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch said in February that he wants to finalize a law on tobacco sales by May. Beverly Hills City Council plans to discuss the commission’s recommendations during a meeting set for May 7.