A Los Angeles City Council committee has voted to stop tobacco companies from handing out free samples of cigarettes and other tobacco products on city streets and sidewalks.
The Police, Fire and Public Safety Committee approved the ban because of concerns that the giveaways entice people to pick up the habit.
“I believe the city should set the moral tone that it does not encourage people to smoke cigarettes,” said Councilman Marvin Braude, who proposed the ban.
Other cities, including San Francisco and Honolulu, as well as the states of Maine and New Hampshire, have similar bans.
Attorney Clare Bronoski, representing the tobacco industry, said the proposal--which must be approved by the full council before it becomes law--has “serious flaws” and would be challenged as a violation of free speech rights.