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Beverly Hills Study Session – February 5, 2019

The Beverly Hills City Council has voiced unanimous support for ending the sale of tobacco products in their city. Currently the city’s Health and Safety Commission is researching policy options to achieve that goal. They will report back to the council in the next few months. A final ordinance is expected by the end of the year.

City of Beverly Hills Study Session
February 5, 2019

(Discussion on tobacco begins at 29:45)

Public comments were limited to two minutes each, with several students from Beverly Hills High School Medical Science Academy helping kick off the comments.  At 1:08:55, UCSF Professor of Nursing and Health Policy Ruth Malone discussed her work studying the tobacco industry for 20 years and her current research focusing on policies to end the tobacco epidemic. She provided historical context to the idea “people have always smoked.” She clarified, “It wasn’t until the late 1800s invention of cigarette rolling machines that we really came to have this shocking number of deaths. The commercialization of tobacco created an industrially produced epidemic.”


ASH Deputy Director for Policy Chris Bostic attended and can be heard speaking at 1:11:17. A transcript of his requested testimony is as follows:

Good afternoon and thank you for this opportunity. My name is Chris Bostic, I’m an attorney with a group called Action on Smoking and Health, or ASH. We’re the nation’s oldest anti-tobacco organization. We’re formed soon after the original 1964 Surgeon General’s Report. And I really appreciate you’re trying to allow time for everybody so I’m going to forego my full remarks but just make one point.

You’ve already been told by your staff that you’re on a solid legal ground from a state and federal law angle. You’re allowed to do this.

But if I can give you a global angle as well, and I’m gonna start with a quote, it’s a very brief quote:

“Tobacco is deeply harmful to human health and there can be no doubt that the production and marketing of tobacco is irreconcilable with the human right to health.”

That statement came from the Danish Institute for Human Rights which has a mandate to protect human rights on a global scale. They did this after they were asked by Philip Morris International to review PMI’s human rights record. So this was almost an own goal from PMI when they asked them to do this.

That language has since been put into something called the Cape Town Declaration on Human Rights and a Tobacco-Free World, that has been endorsed by over 165 organizations from around the world both human rights and public health.

We’re coming to an agreement globally that we cannot continue to allow the sale of this product, so I applaud you for what you’re trying to do and my organization is also at your disposal if we can provide any information. Thank you.

Read more about ASH’s work on this issue here.