New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s latest proposal — a ban on cigarette displays in retail establishments that sell them — is scheduled to be addressed by the City Council today, but the plan has already encountered some push back from the 1,500-member New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS).
Convenience Store News (h/t reader Steven) notes that the group has released a statement that reads:
The notion of forcing licensed, tax-collecting, law-abiding retailers to hide their tobacco inventory is patently absurd. Seeing beer in a beverage center doesn’t make [kids] start drinking; seeing lottery tickets in a bodega doesn’t make them start gambling; seeing condoms in a pharmacy doesn’t make them engage in premarital sex; but that cigarette rack apparently has telepathic powers.
The proposed measure, titled the “Tobacco Product Display Restriction” bill, would require stores to keep tobacco products in closed cabinets and drawers, under the counter, behind a curtain, or in other concealed locations. The smokes would be visible only during restocking or when an adult purchased a package — presuming said adult knew for certain that the store sold cigarettes. The secrecy angle lends the whole affair something of an unintentionally amusing speakeasy quality:
Proprietor [Sliding back panel in door in response to three knocks]: Yeah?
Customer [First looking left and right to make sure the coast is clear]: I wanna buy some cigarettes.
Proprietor: What’s the password?
The article notes that Bloomie has targeted tobacco sales before — and failed:
In September 2009, the New York City Board of Health approved a code change that required the display of smoking cessation signs where tobacco products are sold. In June 2010, several plaintiffs filed suit challenging the move. The point-of-service measure was struck down twice in court, most recently in July when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a 2010 district decision striking down the resolution, finding that such mandates were preempted by federal law.
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