NEW YORK CITY: Bloomberg Unveils Plan To Force Retailers To Conceal Cigarettes
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose almost-annual tax increases over the last decade have raised the price of cigarettes to over $14 per pack at many retailers, today revealed his latest plan to curb smoking.
Mr. Bloomberg said at a news conference that the proposal would make New York the first city in the nation to keep tobacco products out of sight. He said smoking remained a leading cause of preventable death, killing 7,000 New Yorkers a year. The proposal will go to the City Council for its consideration, a step that Mr. Bloomberg skipped when he proposed a ban on sugary drinks bigger than 16 ounces in movie theaters, restaurants and other establishments. Mr. Bloomberg’s latest proposal could meet with stiff resistance from the operators of bodegas and other small stores, where cigarettes, like bottled water and lottery tickets, account for a large percentage of sales. Stores would still be able to advertise that they sell cigarettes, and could display prices.Since Bloomberg took office in 2001 more than 500,000 New Yorkers have given up smoking, with many saying that it was the continual rise in prices that spurred them to quit. In addition to Bloomberg's tax increases, he also championed a series of gruesome television and print ads and ordered the city to further clamp down on the few remaining public spaces where smoking had been allowed. New York City has the highest tax on cigarettes in the nation.