Bloomberg takes aim at cigarettes

By now, most people know New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a problem with super-sized sodas.

But Monday, Bloomberg added another vice to his dislike list: cigarettes.

Bloomberg proposed legislation Monday that would require stores to put cigarettes out of public sight and increase penalties on the smuggling and illegal sales of cigarettes. Stores would still be able to advertise that they sell cigarettes and could display prices.

The proposal, Bloomsberg said, would make New York the first city in the nation to keep tobacco products out of sight, according to a New York Times article.

The goal, city officials said in an NBC News article, isn’t to prevent kids from buying cigarettes (which is already illegal). The idea is that hiding the cigarettes would lower exposure to the products and reduce the chances a young person would try smoking in the first place, according to the NBC News article.

Bloomsberg has already successfully banned smoking in nearly all public spaces, including parks, plazas, beaches, restaurants and bars, according to the Times article.

In New York, the adult smoking rate dropped to 14.8 percent in 2011 from 21.5 percent in 2002, at the beginning of the Bloomberg administration, according to the Times story. The drop was particularly steep among adults, which suggested, experts said, they weren’t picking up the habit in the first place.

For those who haven’t been following Bloomberg’s news-making, health-oriented administration: The New York mayor last year proposed a policy limiting the sale of 16-ounce sugary drinks in movie theaters, restaurants and other establishments.

The ban was set to get into effect last week, but a state judge shot down the rule. The city is appealing.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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