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. Smoke Em if You got Em

    Everyone is a little biggoted.

    Bloomberg isn't liberal. He's a facist.

    I enjoy cigarettes. Moderately. I'll grow my own tobacco if they are outlawed.

    Grow Marijuana if you want to. I'm not your boss.

    I'm a business owning. 80 hour a work week real american.

    "from my cold dead hands"

    March 18, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  2. mdc

    Dear Mayor Bloomberg,

    You're Fired!

    March 18, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  3. Guest

    Send Bloomberg and obama to Russia where they belong.

    March 18, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. Mike McGettigan

    The soda jerk strikes again

    March 18, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  5. Linda Luttrell

    First no, no smokes! Does this guy have nothing else to do??? As far as health care for smokers and obese...I am 62, not obese, normal blood pressure, and have smoked for 35 years. I average ttwo to three trips to the doctor each year. One for my annual physical and one for my arthritis...the other is if I catch someone else's germs!

    March 18, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  6. Donna

    I don't need some billionaire dictator telling me how to run my life, what to drink, not to drink, what material a box can be made of, what to smoke, not to smoke, what to eat, what not to eat. NYC is brain dead if it does not start procedures to remove this whack job before he goes much further. I cannot believe New Yorkers put up with this nonsense.

    March 18, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  7. Notags

    The one thing I have noticed over the past 30 years is as smoking decreased, obesity increased, so we traded one problem for another.

    From a report by the Rand Corporation;

    "Not only does obesity have more negative health consequences than smoking, drinking, or poverty, it also affects more people. Approximately 23 percent of Americans are obese. An additional 36 percent are overweight. By contrast, only 6 percent are heavy drinkers, 19 percent are daily smokers, and 14 percent live in poverty."

    March 18, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  8. devin

    Supreme Leader is always right. Guide us Supreme Leader.

    March 18, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  9. gahh

    If people are dumb enough to pay 5 or 6 dollars for a package of cancer sticks, doesn't matter where you put them, they'll find them.

    March 18, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  10. truetea

    Exactly why big government is bad

    March 18, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  11. jay_hawk

    We got red of dictators, maybe the military should invade New York with SHOCK and AWE to get red of the dictator Bloomberg. Maybe he will change the city law to get another term. New Yorkers take your life in your own hands and get red of this as-le.

    March 18, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  12. John

    I voted for Michael Bloomberg 3 times but I have to say he should really concentrate his efforts on important things like LOWERING SUBWAY FARES! Hiding cigarettes at the local 7/11 will do nothing.

    March 18, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  13. jamesnyc

    If he would spend his time making sure he honors the contracts and hard work of the workers of New York instead of grandstanding on nonsense like this, it might be better. It's just a smoke screen for all the things he is not honoring in his other Mayoral obligations.

    March 18, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  14. Logic N LA

    I like Bloomberg and think he means well. but to think you can micro mangae people is just silly.
    Come on, Mike – relax!

    March 18, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  15. tofox1967

    Old News! Welcome to the 90s! In Canada, variety and convenience stores have been required for years to keep a curtain in front of their cigarette shelves behind their counters. Smoking still remains a problem in Canada too.

    March 18, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  16. AlexanderE81

    Bloomberg is an idiot and a Mussolini wannabe.

    March 18, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  17. Lagos

    So when kids are still smoking when the cigarettes are hidden, will cigarettes need to be banned along with everything else in the universe that's bad for you?

    March 18, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  18. Az

    Proof positive that politicians have too much money, too much time on their hands and to much air between their ears. Term Limit the jerks out.

    March 18, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    What he is saying is for the good of children.. If kids don't start smoking they are more likely to be smokefree adults! What's wrong with that.. You Go Mayor Bloomburg. We need more mayors like you!!

    March 18, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  20. Gary

    I do not see why this is becoming a big deal. No one is stating that stores cannot sell these products and that adults who can legally buy them cannot still purchase cigarettes. However, recent studies endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics do show that when products are not visible they are not as likely to be sought after, particularly by teenagers. No one is infringing on a 35 year old's right to go into a store and buy cigarettes, they just have to ask for them. Sorry that we're making it slightly less convenient, but if this will help cut down on people smoking, then why not be in favor of it? It wlil not really affect the adult who only goes into the store to buy cigarettes, but it may decrease the purchase of the products by others. No rights are being infringed upon here.

    March 18, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  21. Rod

    Hiding tobacco and deglamorizing it is the way it is in Canada. Fewer people are smoking. So it seems to be working, If that's a good thing. I think it is.

    March 18, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  22. rick

    This guy is TRULY insane.....

    March 18, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  23. brian

    Comments here against anything remotely moral suggest why the rest of the world looks on the US as a Sodom and Gomorrah

    March 18, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  24. Wrapped in Plastic

    "Guns kill people – ban them. Cigarettes kill people, ban them, soda kills people, ban it. When will people realize these liberals simply want to strip us of our freedoms, and control every aspect of our lives?"

    Gays shouldn't marry – make it illegal, gay shouldn't be allowed to adopt – make it illegal, you must say "under god" – make it a law, you must be christian – make it a law, you can't have abortions – make it illegal, When will people realize these conservatives simple want to stupid us of our rights and control every aspect of our lives?

    March 18, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  25. Jon

    I can get on board with this. The soda ban was ridiculous because the only person being harmed was the person who chose the large soda, but smoking harms everyone around the smoker.

    March 18, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
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