Bloomberg’s latest campaign: Hide cigarettes in stores

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michal Conger

Just one week after a judge overturned his soda ban, New York  Mayor Michael Bloomberg has picked a new campaign to make New Yorkers healthier.

Bloomberg announced legislation today that would make New York City the first city in the country requiring retail stores to keep tobacco products out of sight, with the goal of reducing youth smoking. The bill would require retailers to keep cigarettes in drawers or cabinets, behind curtains or otherwise hidden.

Another bill would fight cigarette trafficking by setting a minimum price for tobacco products; prohibiting retailers from accepting coupons for cigarettes or little cigars; and requiring a minimum number of cigars and cigarillos to be sold per package.

The bills will be introduced Wednesday by City Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Chair of the Health Committee.

“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,” said Bloomberg. “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.”

Bloomberg’s office called the bills “logical,” saying smoking kills 7,000 New Yorkers each year and the city has not been able to budget its 8.5 percent youth smoking rate since 2007.

The mayor made the announcement today at Queens Hospital Center today, where he was joined by health professionals and anti-smoking advocates.

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