New York Mayor Seeks to Reduce City’s Smoking Rate

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have lost the first round in his fight to ban big sodas, but that hasn't stopped him from issuing a new health proposal.

Cigarettes are often the backdrop in many convenience stores, lining the wall behind most registers. But if Mayor Bloomberg has his way, customers will never see them. He's asking the city council to require stores to keep cigarettes and other tobacco products out of sight.  

The bill is called the Tobacco Product Display Restriction and would make New York the first city in the country to keep tobacco products hidden in retail stores. The legislation would not impact advertising, meaning retailers could indicate the products are for sale, but cartons, pouches and tins would have to remain hidden.  

Smoking rates have dropped since Bloomberg banned smoking in public spaces.  The rates for adults who smoke in New York City have fallen from 21.5 percent in 2002 to 14.8 percent in 2011, according to New York Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley.

Still, Dr. Farley and Mayor Bloomberg cautioned, smoking is a leading cause of preventable death, and is a health threat to the city's children.  Smoking youth rates have remained flat at 8.5 percent since 2007.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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