Bloomberg Now Wants Stores to Hide Cigarettes

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 18 2013 2:19 PM

NYC Mayor Bloomberg Trying to Snuff Out Cigarette Displays in Stores

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The display of cigarette packs in New York City stores could soon be a thing of the past.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

If you don’t see them, you won’t want to smoke them? That seems to be the thinking behind the latest chapter in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s long crusade against tobacco. A week after a judge shot down his move to ban supersized sugary drinks, Bloomberg made it clear Monday he isn't giving up on his aggressive public health initiatives. Now if he gets his way, stores will have to physically hide cigarettes.

Under new legislation Bloomberg proposed Monday, New York would be the first city in the country to outright ban cigarette displays, reports NBC News. The measure will go to the City Council for approval, a significant step that Bloomberg skipped when he banned drinks bigger than 16 ounces, points out the New York Times. Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling said the city’s Board of Health had exceeded its authority with the drinks ban because it did not get approval from the City Council.

Under the legislation that will be introduced in the City Council this week, tobacco products will only be able to be seen when they’re being purchased or during restocking. That means tobacco products would have to be kept “in cabinets, drawers, under the counter, behind a curtain or in any other concealed location,” details the Wall Street Journal. The measure wouldn’t affect advertising and stores could still publicize they sell cigarettes.

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Although the legislation could be seen as another example of how Bloomberg is happy to wear the "nanny mayor" nickname like a badge of honor, he was sure to note Monday he really isn’t that original. Other countries, including Iceland, Canada, and England, have enacted similar prohibitions on displaying tobacco, reports the Associated Press.

“This legislation will help prevent another generation from the ill health and shorter life expectancy that comes with smoking,” Bloomberg said.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.