Last week’s injunction overturning New York’s ban on outsize sodas may have been a setback for Michael Bloomberg, but the nanny state mayor has demonstrated that for every step backward he will take a step further to his left. The New York Post reports that Bloomie today unveiled his latest proposal — a bill that would require stores to keep cigarettes hidden from the view of paying customers. Bloomberg will submit his plan to the City Council on Wednesday.
The proposition is not Bloomie’s first attempt to wrest cancer sticks from the lips of New Yorkers intent on lighting up.
In 2011, at his urging the City Council approved a ban on smoking at public parks and beaches. The proposed law is also reminiscent of another piece of Bloombergian handiwork — an initiative launched last September that requires city hospitals to keep baby formula out of sight so that mothers of newborns have no option but to breastfeed.
Of his newest pet project, Bloomberg said in a prepared statement:
New York City has dramatically lowered our smoking rate, but even one new smoker is one too many — especially when it’s a young person.
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.
The bill would also require small cigars, known as cigarillos, that cost more than $3 to be sold in packs of 20.
The proposed legislation comes at a time when California is contemplating its own restrictive law that would prevent smokers from exhaling in their own homes so long as those homes were in an apartment complex, a condo, or a multifamily dwelling. As Debra Saunders of The San Francisco Chronicle has written, the bill is striking for a state that has so completely embraced the smoking of medical marijuana, which — she notes, citing American Lung Association statistics — introduces a higher concentration of carcinogens into the body than does tobacco smoke.
At least Bloomberg has been consistent in this area, opposing the decriminalization of the drug in New York.
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