A new proposed law for New York City Michael Bloomberg would force retailers to move tobacco products out of the sight of minors, in an attempt to reduce the youth smoking rate. Michael Bloomberg announced the new proposal Monday, the latest in a series of public health plans introduced by his office. The measure would be the first such law passed in the United States, though several other countries, including Canada and England, do impose similar restrictions.
“Such displays suggest that smoking is a normal activity,” Bloomberg said. “And they invite young people to experiment with tobacco.”
City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas A. Farley backed the new legislation, noting that smoking is still the leading preventable cause of death in New York. He reported that the smoking rate had dropped by about 7 percent since 2002, but that the rate among youths has held steady at 8 percent since 2007.
“We have made tremendous strides in combating smoking in New York City, but this leading killer still threatens the health of our children,” Farley said.
Tobacco specialty stores would be exempt from the changes, and businesses would still be able to keep their advertisements, so long as they are kept out of sight. Additionally, a section of the legislation will prevent retailers from selling discounted tobacco products, including cheap cigars, and penalize them for redeeming coupons for tobacco products.
Bloomberg has been vocal about his initiatives to improve the health of New Yorkers. A law banning the sale sugary drinks over 16 ounces was recently suspended by a judge. Another proposal was intended to block the sale of sugary drinks to individuals on food stamps.
“People always say, ‘Oh, you’re doing these health things to raise money,'” Bloomberg said, according to Newsday. “No, that is not the reason. We’re doing these health things to save lives.”