Bloomberg's next ban? Cigarette displays in stores

Bloomberg has already banned smoking in most public places. But is he going too far in wanting to prohibit stores from displaying cigarettes?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is famous for instituting bans that other politicians wouldn't dare make. He's banned smoking in all kinds of public spaces ranging from restaurants and bars to city parks, prohibited foods containing artificial trans fats, and tried to ban super-sized sodas (though a judge recently struck that down).

But as if to show that the latest defeat has left him undeterred, the billionaire mayor introduced new legislation Monday to ban New York City stores from displaying cigarettes and to make penalties on the smuggling and selling of illegal cigarettes even harsher.

At a news conference revealing his proposal, Bloomberg said that such a law would make the Big Apple the first city in the nation to outlaw the display of tobacco products. He also cited statistics showing that smoking is one of the top causes of preventable deaths; 7,000 New Yorkers die from it a year.

His anti-smoking measures seem to be having an effect. After the ban on smoking in public places, the adult smoking rate dropped from almost 22% to less than 15%.

But this latest move could draw some resistance, especially from the owners of bodegas and other small stores, where cigarettes are often used to line the walls and also account for a large percentage of sales, along with lottery tickets and bottled water.

And as for the recent defeat of the soda ban? His administration is appealing it.

What do you think? Are Bloomberg's public health bans a good idea, or do you think these measures hurt business or impinge on individual freedom too much?

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via: The New York Times

photo: © 2011 Britta Heise/Flickr

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