In this week’s episode of “Things Mayor Bloomberg Is Trying To Ban”, the New York City mayor proposed a new bill that will forbid stores from publicly displaying cigarettes and other tobacco products called The Tobacco Product Display Restriction Bill. If passed, New York will be the first city to have such a ban. Bloomberg’s motive is to reduce teen smoking in the city.
“We know that out of sight doesn’t always mean out of mind, but in many cases it can. And we think this measure will help reduce impulse purchases, and if it does, it will literally save lives,” Bloomberg said.
“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,” he said.
The proposal would have all tobacco products placed in cabinets, under counters or behind curtains. Sort of like a tobacco peep show. The stores would be allowed to advertise, but Bloomberg feels having tobacco products in plain sight is alluring to teens. City officials said display restrictions are already in place in other countries, including Canada, England, Iceland and Ireland.
“Such displays suggest that smoking is a normal activity and they invite young people to experiment with tobacco,” Bloomberg said.
Bodega owners are not happy about this initiative.
“Why am I supposed to hide? What I sell is legal. It’s all legal,” said Muhamad Hossain, manager of a bodega in the East Village. “If I can’t display, I can’t sell. Business is bad enough already.”
Jabed Ahmed, manager of the Village Gourmet Grocery on Second Ave., said: “They already require that we keep tobacco behind the counter, away from kids. It’s enough. It’s impossible. This is not right.” Health concerns are “not my problem. It is the right of the customer,” he said.
That’s right, bodega owners don’t care if your teen is smoking. It’s pretty much the reason why a lot of them disregard the age requirement anyways. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen teens purchase cigarettes in New York City, without being carded.
Will Bloomberg’s out of sight, out of mind theory actually work?
What do you think of the new bill?