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Michael Bloomberg seeks to ban cigarette displays

A new measure would require stores to keep tobacco products hidden in cabinets, drawers, under counters or behind curtains

Apparently unfazed by the recent defeat of his sugary drink ban, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is now pushing for a law that would require stores to conceal tobacco products.

Under the law, which Bloomberg will reportedly introduce to the City Council this week, stores would have to hide tobacco products, including cigarettes, behind a curtain, or store them in cabinets, drawers or under counters.

 “New York City has dramatically lowered our smoking rate, but even one new smoker is one too many,” he said at a press conference, according to Bloomberg. “Young people are targets of marketing, and the availability of cigarettes and this legislation will help prevent another generation from the ill health and shorter life expectancy that comes with smoking.”

If the measure is passed, it would make New York the first U.S. city to institute such a ban, although the Associated Press notes that countries such as Ireland, Iceland, Canada and England have approved similar laws. The ban does not address tobacco advertising, leading some critics to question its effectiveness.

Bloomberg is known for his often-aggressive public health initiatives. Since becoming mayor in 2002, he has introduced mandated calorie counts on restaurant menus; raised tobacco taxes; banned smoking in restaurants, bars and other public places; and outlawed trans-fat additives.

Not all of his campaigns have been as successful, however. Just last week, a judge struck down a law that would have prevented certain businesses from selling sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. Judge Milton Tingling said that the ban was “arbitrary and capricious” because of its many loopholes that “serve to gut the purpose of the rule.”

Read more at Bloomberg.

For more coverage of the tobacco industry on InsideCounsel, see:

Big Tobacco doesn’t want to admit wrongdoing

Judge tells Big Tobacco to disclose deception on packaging

Tobacco companies and states reach agreement over payments

D.C. Circuit rules against graphic tobacco label requirements

Alanna Byrne

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