Unshaken by his failed attempt to banish large sugary drinks in the city, Mayor Bloomberg is now after a different public health-related issue with a proposed bill that would require stores to conceal cigarettes. Introduced during a speech this week at the Queens Hospital Center, the plan would force stores to hide cigarettes in cabinets or drawers to potentially curb tobacco marketing to youth and prevent relapse for ex-smokers who might buy on impulse. Despite a tremendous drop in the number of smokers in New York, city officials report that smoking still kills 7,000 New Yorkers each year.
“Such displays suggest that smoking is a normal activity, and they invite young people to experiment with tobacco,” Bloomberg said at a news conference as reported by The New York Times. Bloomberg also proposed a second bill that would raise penalties for stores looking to avoid tobacco taxes by selling illegal cigarettes and require them to sell cheap cigars in a minimum pack of four.
The proposed legislation, which would be the first of its kind in the country, isn’t sitting well with convenience store owners or with James S. Calvin, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores. “We think it’s patently absurd,” Mr. Calvin said of the proposed restriction to The New York Times. “Can you think of any other retail business that is licensed to sell legal products that is required to hide them from the view of its customers? I can’t.”
The legislation will be introduced to the City Council on Wednesday. Bloomberg has successfully banned smoking in all public spaces since he took office in 2002 and the costs of cigarettes in New York City remains the highest in the country. The smoking rates for adults in the city has fallen by almost a third — 21.5 percent in 2002 to 14.8 percent since 2011.
Via New York Times