Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday proposed a bill that would force retailers to hide tobacco products, reported The New York Times.
The move, intended to shield children from tobacco marketing and discourage customers from impulse smoking, would make New York City the first in the nation to enforce such a rule.
“Such displays suggest that smoking is a normal activity, and they invite young people to experiment with tobacco,” Bloomberg said at a news conference.
The bill is one in a list of priorities in the mayor’s health agenda, including curbing trans-fat, salt and sugar consumption, as well as reducing teenage pregnancy and obesity— all of which have elevated him nationally as a leading proponent of legislating consumer health.
“We think it’s patently absurd,” James S. Calvin, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores. “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.”
He also proposed a second bill that would penalize retailers who sell smuggled cigarettes and would create a minimum price of $10.50 per pack for cigarettes and little cigars.
Unlike with the mayor’s ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces, both of the tobacco bills will first go before the City Council for consideration, after his ban on sugary drinks was shot down last week by a state judge, a decision that the city is appealing.