New York mayor wants to ban stores from displaying cigarettes

Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:51pm EDT
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By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday proposed requiring that cigarettes be hidden from view in retail stores as a means to reduce smoking in what he said would be the first law of its kind in the United States.

Bloomberg plans to introduce to the City Council on Wednesday two bills that would require retailers to keep cigarettes in a drawer, behind a curtain or in some other concealed location.

Some retail trade groups and tobacco companies criticized the proposed display ban as an unnecessary burden.

Bloomberg, a former smoker, is accustomed to industry opposition from previous measures to improve the health of New Yorkers, including bans on smoking in most offices, restaurants, bars, parks and on beaches.

Bloomberg has also taken steps to curtail the use of trans fats and salt in the city's restaurants. Last week a court unexpectedly struck down his attempt to limit the size of sugary drinks, in part because it did not go through the City Council. The city is appealing that ruling.

"These laws would protect New Yorkers, especially young and impressionable New Yorkers, from pricing, discounts and exposure to in-store displays that promote tobacco products," Bloomberg told a news conference at a city hospital.

"Such displays suggest that smoking is a normal activity and they invite young people to experiment with tobacco. This is not a normal activity," he said.

Stores would still be allowed to advertise and display pricing information but the actual tobacco products would only be visible during a sale or restocking.   Continued...

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to the media at New York's City Hall after a ruling invalidating the city's plan to ban large sugary drinks from restaurants and other eateries, March 11, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid