March 18th, 2013
04:25 PM ET
10 years ago

Bloomberg explains new push against tobacco

(CNN) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said his latest push to keep tobacco products out of sight is an attempt to de-glamorize the appeal of the product for kids and teenagers.

"Smoking is going to kill these kids," he said Monday on CNN's "The Lead" in an interview with Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper. "It's going to leave them with not the great career prospects that you'd like, not the education that you'd like."

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The mayor said they're trying to dissuade customers from viewing cigarettes as "normal."

"Cigarettes are not a normal product," he added. "They're a product that kills the people that use it. And there are very few products like that."

Bloomberg announced the public health initiative earlier Monday, a week after a New York judge invalidated the city's ban on sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.

The new tobacco legislation is made up of two bills: One that would require retailers to keep tobacco products hidden in stores, another would increase penalties for retailers who sell tobacco without a license or fail to pay tobacco taxes. It would also prohibit the sale of discounted tobacco products.

The three-term mayor said Monday the new bills are designed to continue New York City's record in reducing smoking.

"After New York City banned smoking, which we got a lot of grief about, I will say, I got a lot of one-fingered waves, as I would describe them, when I marched by bars on St. Patrick's Day, for example," he said. "Today, you march by a bar on St. Patrick's Day and everybody seems to love you."

New York City passed the Smoke Free Air Act in 1988, when smoking was banned in public restrooms and taxicabs. The law was amended in 2002, when smoking in indoor areas, including restaurants and bars, was banned. Additionally, in 2011, Bloomberg signed a bill banning smoking in many public places, including New York City's parks and public beaches.

Bloomberg has become known among critics as a nanny-state politician for his drives against certain products, including the oversized sugary drinks and plastic foam containers.

Asked if he's concerned that the backlash could ultimately hurt his cause, Bloomberg said "anything but the beverage companies can see that there's a train coming at them down the tunnel."

"It's not the light at the end of the tunnel," he added.

Talking about the drinks, Bloomberg said all the city is trying to do is "educate people."

"If you want to buy 32 ounces, you can do it, you just have to take it back to your seat in two 16 ounce cups. And if you want 64, you've got to take it back in - in four 16 ounce cups," he said. "But hopefully, that will remind you that it's probably not the best thing for you."

- CNN's Marina Carver contributed to this report.

Filed under: Michael Bloomberg • New York • The Lead
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Ancient Texan

    Governments (state and national) have been capitalizing on the taxes from tobacco sales for a long period of time now and if tobacco is finally outlawed or everyone quits the use of it because of cost and health concerns...where will the income be collected from next?

    March 18, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. Guest

    I wonder what choices Mr. Bloomberg will make for New Yorkers next. Everyone has the government they deserve.

    March 18, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  3. ready

    A rich billionaire telling everyone how they should live like he's their father and he knows better because he has so much money, disgusting.

    March 18, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  4. bill in philly

    tobacco is bad for you but this guy is turning into the fun policy. if I want a supersize drink, why does this guy think he makes the laws..our forefathers would kick this guy out of the free masons...just sayin'

    March 18, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. Ckicken_Is_yummy

    They may kill,but they bring ALOT of revenue to the city!! So........

    March 18, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  6. Ted Goodier

    Have I lost my mind? Most New Yorkers I know are good common sense people who don't like being pushed around by anyone much less a politician. Is this what happens when personal wealth is used to gain power. You are allowed to harass, ban, litigate and legislate what ever you find even remotely offensive out of existence? Would you New Yorkers please put Bloomberg out of office next go around, before his social engineering spreads like a virus? Please!

    March 18, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  7. Greg Prune

    LOL, I remember a time when New Yorkers were looked at as tough. The new New York is a state full of pansy liberals who are nothing short of nerdy. You have a nanny telling you that where you can smoke, where you can place your cigarettes in a store, what to drink, what to eat, etc. New York should have a va gi na on their flag. What a gay pansy state. Soon, it will be mandatory that every New Yorker wear socks with sandals, black framed glasses, and carry a sippy cup full of wheat grass.

    March 18, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  8. Hooligan

    Bloomburg needs to cut this nonsense.

    I hate smoking, I find it to be a disgusting habit... but he is overstepping his boundaries with this big brother routine.

    March 18, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  9. davecu

    Thus spoke the Emperor further impinging your right so pursue happiness.

    March 18, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. Peter Q Wolfe

    As a former smoker and drinker, I agree with Mayor Bloomberg with his initiative on preventive public health measures that need to be expanded throughout the land. I'd even go further with restricting all sales of tobacco not with children present at the time of purchase or in the presence of children. It should be a crime to involve someone in your wreckless health habits especially not children. i live in the heart land and its obese, uneducated, smelly and not much invexstment in the well being of U.S citizens at all especially not public health.

    March 18, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
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