The City Council is considering an ordinance to regulate tobacco
retailers as a way to curb the sale of cigarettes to minors.
Under the proposed ordinance, discussed by the council and city
staff Tuesday night, merchants would be required to secure a license
in order to sell tobacco products.
Elaine Pease, senior license and code services inspector, said
local legislation would allow the city to issue fines and possibly
revoke the licenses of retailers who repeatedly sell tobacco products
to underage customers.
“Right now, state law covers this, but if we enact our own
ordinance, we can make it stronger,” she said.
Pease told the council an ordinance could outlaw mobile outlets
such as ice-cream trucks from selling cigarettes. Presently, 24
cities in California require tobacco retailers to be licensed,
including Los Angeles.Officials from the American Heart Association
and the Valley Community Clinic attended Tuesday’s meeting and
expressed support for the ordinance.
“We need a serious program with real enforcement to prevent
illegal tobacco sales,” American Heart Assn. spokesman Robert Donin
told the council.
According to city staff, there are between 300 and 400
establishments in Burbank that sell tobacco products. Pease said the
initial costs of inspecting and licensing each establishment could be
Mayor Stacey Murphy expressed concerns about the amount of staff
time it would take to monitor the licenses.
“We’re cutting back and putting more and more [work] on staff,”
Murphy said. “I’d hate to put another level of bureaucracy on.”
Depending on how high the license fee was set, License and Code
Services Supervisor Terre Hirsh told the council it could balance the
cost of operating such a program.
The cost of a tobacco license in other California cities that have
enacted a regulation varies, with the highest being $283 per year in
Berkeley, he said.
The council took no action on a possible ordinance, but asked
staff to return with more information on potential costs.