New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed keeping cigarettes out of sight in city stores, the Associated Press reports. The proposal is designed to discourage smoking among young people, he said. Proponents of the measure say research has linked exposure to cigarettes with starting to smoke.
The proposal would require stores to keep tobacco products in drawers, cabinets, behind a curtain, under the counter, or in other hidden areas. Shops would not be allowed to accept cigarette coupons or honor discounts. The plan would set a minimum price for cigarettes, which would be below the price already charged in much of the city.
“What’s exciting about this (New York City proposal) is that this is the most comprehensive set of tobacco-control regulations that affect stores or the retail outlets,” Kurt Ribisl, a professor of public health and cancer prevention specialist at the University of North Carolina, told the AP. He added the visibility of cigarettes can lead to impulse buys by smokers who are trying to quit.
Iceland, Canada, Ireland and England have laws that ban displaying cigarettes, the article notes. It would be the first such law in the United States.
The proposal is scheduled to be introduced to the City Council on Wednesday.