Bloomberg Wants Retailers To Keep Tobacco Products Out Of Sight

By Krishnadev Calamur

March 18, 2013

First supersized soda, now cigarettes: Under New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's new plan, retailers in the city would have to keep tobacco products out of sight. The goal, he says, is to curb the rate of youth smoking.

The measure would make New York the first city in the nation to keep tobacco products out of sight in stores.

Here's more from Monday's news release announcing the proposal:

"Under the new legislation, sellers would be required to keep tobacco products out of sight, except during a purchase by an adult consumer or during restocking: tobacco products would be required to be kept in cabinets, drawers, under the counter, behind a curtain or in any other concealed location."

"New York City has dramatically lowered our smoking rate, but even one new smoker is one too many – especially when it's a young person," Bloomberg said in a statement. "Young people are targets of marketing and the availability of cigarettes and this legislation will help prevent another generation from the ill health and shorter life expectancy that comes with smoking."

The measure will now go to the City Council.

Bloomberg's plan was unveiled a week after a judge blocked the mayor's effort to limit large sugary drinks, calling the measure "arbitrary and capricious." The city is appealing that decision.

Here's more from The New York Times about the possible opposition to the latest proposal:

"While cracking down on smoking may seem like a no-brainer given the clear link with cancer, Mr. Bloomberg's latest proposal could meet with stiff resistance from the operators of bodegas and other small stores, where cigarettes, like bottled water and lottery tickets, account for a large percentage of sales.

"In many of these stores, cigarettes are like wallpaper, the backdrop that every customer sees when going to the register to pay, and the stores could take a significant financial hit by putting them out of sight. Stores would still be able to advertise that they sell cigarettes, and could display prices."

Similar measures are in place in countries such as Iceland Canada, England, Iceland and Ireland, Bloomberg said.

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