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News: New York City May Hide Away Tobacco

20 Mar 2013

On the heels of a state judge blocking Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large sugary drinks, the New York City mayor is re-focusing his consternation on tobacco. He announced this week plans to prevent stores from displaying tobacco products.

Michael Bloomberg“The proposed law would ‘prohibit display of tobacco products’ in most retail shops, Bloomberg said. ‘Such displays suggest smoking is a normal activity and invite young people to experiment with tobacco.’ He said it would be the first of its kind in the nation,” according to NBC News.

Cigar Rights of America followed Bloomberg’s announcement with an email alert, providing additional details: “Under the new legislation, sellers would be required to keep tobacco products out of sight, except during a purchase by an adult consumer or during restocking. Tobacco products would be required to be kept in cabinets, drawers, under the counter, behind a curtain, or in any other concealed location.”

In a second bill, Bloomberg is proposing to stiffen the penalties for tobacco tax evasion, outlaw tobacco coupons or discounts, and impose a price floor and packaging restrictions on cigarettes and little cigars. Analysis

On the surface, these moves by Bloomberg don’t seem to pose grave threats for premium handmade cigars, which are sold mainly through tobacco shops and online (both would be exempt from the display restrictions). But Bloomberg’s actions should nonetheless be closely watched by cigar enthusiasts for two important reasons.

First and foremost, it’s easy to see how display restrictions on tobacco could be a slippery slope that would eventually dismantle cigar shops. At the federal level, there is already some danger of this via the impending regulations that are expected from the FDA, which has newfound authority over tobacco. Don’t underestimate the zealotry of the anti-tobacco movement; despite the fact that tobacco is legal and already heavily taxed and regulated, the movement’s ultimate goal is the outright criminalization of tobacco.

Second, Bloomberg sees New York City as a pioneer of health policies that can be exported to other cities and states, and he believes he has a far-reaching mandate to protect consenting adults from themselves. Remember, in addition to New York’s indoor smoking bans, it is also illegal to smoke outdoors in city parks or sell flavored tobacco. Bloomberg would like to see these policies in your neck of the woods, too. Sort of like New York being a shining beacon of nanny statism for the rest of the country.

Patrick A

photo credit: Flickr

6 Responses to “News: New York City May Hide Away Tobacco”

  1. Wakey Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    Hello Americans.Dont let it happen.Its already happened in Australia.Stand up against the politicians.Regards a cigar smoker down under.

  2. Komodota Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    Is this about cigarettes only? If so, why is this being reported on and noted in a "cigar" specific blog/forum? The focus 150% should ONLY be on those issues related to negatively impacting cigars/cigar smoking. Who gives a #%=**><? about cigarettes and or cigarette smokers? Remember, every piece of restrictive legislation impacting cigars and "cigar" smoking is because of the negative outflows from "cigarettes" and cigarette smoking.

    • Mike Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 10:23 am #

      This affects all tobacco sold anywhere outside of an age-restricted tobacco shop. It's questionable if this bill gets through the council in an election year, and an even bigger question if it is constitutional. Most of Canada has had these types of regulations for several years.

      And for anti-smoking activists, there is no difference between handmade cigars and a cigarette off an assembly line. As a former US surgeon general said, "Tobacco is tobacco is tobacco."

      In some good news, however, the government is dropping the current proposal for graphic warning labels on cigarette packs. New warnings are likely at least several years away.

      That tells me whatever cigar regs are proposed will probably not include diseased lungs, etc.

    • @stogieguys Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

      The analysis explains how this affects cigars, but more fundamentally it's my opinion that it would be naive to think that cigarette smokers aren't in the same boat as cigar smokers on these issues. Smoking bans affect both groups. Tobacco taxes always go up for cigars when they increase for cigarettes.

      Even something like the FDA bill which specifically targeted cigarettes gave the FDA the power to regulate cigars too. I (obviously) support the bill to stop the FDA from expanding its regulations to cover cigars, but I'm also in favor of repealing all FDA regulation of all tobacco. (Frankly I'd prefer the latter, but unfortunately I realize that in the short term only the cigar bill has a chance of passing Congress.)

      Anti-tobacco zealots don't care about the differences between cigars and cigarettes. They even hate electronic cigarettes which I think are obviously safer than cigarettes.

      Personally, cigarettes aren't for me, but cigarette smokers aren't the problem.

  3. Dennis Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    If you can't get rid of crime, poverty, unemployment, slums…Pick on soda and cigars!! What's next…Chewing gum?

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