What the government wants to take away now

After failing to ban large sodas, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to require convenience stores to hide cigarettes.

By Jason Notte Mar 19, 2013 4:42PM
Cigarette packs are displayed at a smoke shop in New York, N.Y., on Monday (Mark Lennihan/AP)Fresh off the courtroom defeat of his controversial ban on large sodas, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is now taking the fight to an older, more battered convenience store enemy: cigarettes.

According to Reuters, Bloomberg on Monday proposed a law requiring that cigarettes be hidden from view in stores.

The two bills he plans to present to the City Council Wednesday would require clerks to keep cigarettes in a drawer, behind a curtain or in some other concealed location. As it is, New York law allows only the clerk access to cigarettes, which are kept stacked either above or behind the counter.

Bloomberg, a former smoker, also wants to stop stores from taking cigarette coupons and honoring discounts. He's also and are proposing a minimum price for cigarettes that falls under the city average and would discourage black market sales. Cigarette companies are vehemently opposed to the law, which they consider an overreach, but Bloomberg's prior dealings with soda companies, restaurants, cab companies and other businesses targeted by his restrictions indicate he likely isn't listening.

Thanks to cigarette taxes that are among the highest in the country, New York City smokers pay upwards of $13 per pack. Bloomberg's proposed minimum price would knock that cost down to $10.50, but the ban on public displays of cigarettes would be the first of its kind in the U.S. and the first outside of Iceland, Canada, Ireland and England. Stores that make more than half their revenue from tobacco products would be exempt from the display ban, but only because customers under the legal New York cigarette buying age of 18 are banned from those stores without a parent.

Unlike Bloomberg's failed soda ban, his previous battles against cigarettes have continually yielded results. After banning smoking in office buildings, bars, restaurants, parks and beaches, Bloomberg dropped the number of New Yorkers who smoke from 21.5% in 2002 to just 14.8% percent in 2011, according to the city's health department. Meanwhile, Altria (MO), Reynolds American (RAI) and smaller tobacco companies that are already packing their products with kitty litter ingredients just to avoid excise taxes are having somewhat mixed emotions about the new ban.

While smokers-rights groups say the mayor is overstepping his bounds, companies have remained mum about the cigarettes being smuggled into New York from other states without tax stamps. Over the last 18 months, inspectors visiting 1,800 cigarette retailers found 46% were selling untaxed or unstamped tobacco products, city officials said. That costs the city roughly $30 million a year, which it seems more than happy to take back by eliminating manufacturers' discounts.

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Mar 19, 2013 5:20PM
I think Bloomberg would better serve his city by addressing crime, education ect. Things that affect every person who resides there. This cherry picking issues that single out "fat people", "smokers" and whatever other demographic he decides he disagrees with is more like "I know what is best for you and you are going to do it because I say so!" Hide the cigarettes?!!! How about you hide the damn gangs and drug dealers behind bars!!!!
Mar 19, 2013 7:08PM
I love how elected officials are great at dealing with mediocre issues rather then deal with important issues, related to crime, gangs, and other social issues.
Is this New York Mayor a Dictator? One thing for sure that I have come to realize is that he is not from this planet. This is what the American People have been fighting for and we still are, considering who we have as a president and his cronies. Do these elected officials know that the constitution of the United States protects every American Citizen from people like this. Its bad enough we have a socialist for a president, we now have a dictator in New York. People, open your eyes. We are being guided slowly into living in a life of a government run country. 
Mar 19, 2013 7:29PM
I agree. Why don't you focus on keeping criminals behind bars instead of banning everything? You took away large sodas because you CLAIM they lead to obesity and you took away cigarettes because you CLAIM people are buying them. Let people do what they want. It's their choice what they put into or do with their bodies. Stop taking away everyone's freedom of choice and concentrate on doing your JOB, the one the residents of New York elected you to do.  Stop acting like you are God and stay out of peoples' lives. They are going to do what they want anyway. And besides, how do you know what is best for the residents? You don't even care.

Mar 20, 2013 12:02AM

Bloomberg is an ego-centric Billionaire, and now he is just  going fkin nuts and stupid...


There were a couple guys in History; Maybe more, he reminds me of..Hitler, Stalin and a few others.

Mar 19, 2013 4:58PM
They are sick.  flipping hamburgers for $100 plus a day!!!!!!!!!  Why gat an education, just wait and this new government will give you the free lunch that does not exist.

Wake you America!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is no free lunch and pay increase are to be earned not given.  The Unions have prove that.  Look at our car industry!!!!!!!!!

Who builds better cars now?  America?  No every other country producing autos, Japan, Germany, Italy, Korea.
Mar 20, 2013 2:37AM
You just have to laugh.  Power hungry government officials, in the end, cannot quell the human spirit and human ingenuity...........freedom of choice.
Mar 20, 2013 1:26PM
this government and its cronies have to go...their backwards socialist and marxist ideas are not what America is about...
Mar 19, 2013 4:54PM
I go to Red Lobster because it is a sit down restaurant. If I want to order and pick it up I will go somewhere else.
Mar 20, 2013 2:36PM
Coming from someone who smokes cigarettes...  Sounds good.  But the cigarettes in the picture are irrelevant considering most "Black Market" cigarette sales are Newport cigarettes.
Mar 20, 2013 9:07AM
Put them anywhere you want. As long as the sales clerk can find them when I need a pack, I'm good. Problem solved. Everybody happy ?
Mar 20, 2013 7:16AM
Maybe they could change the name to Long John Lobster?
Mar 20, 2013 2:34AM
Ridiculous!  Another vanity play by a wannabe dictator.  If you really want to do something good, charge smokers in public with attempted murder or assault with a deadly weapon...forcing everyone to breath their tar and crud because they don't want the stink in their home.  Too much.  Ok, put their mouth under the openings in the urinals at the local pub, seems almost, well, not nearly as severe.
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