NEW YORK — Anti-smoking advocates and health experts hailed proposals from Mayor Michael Bloomberg that would keep cigarettes out of sight in New York City stores, while tobacco companies and smokers called it an overreach.
The ban, which would be the only one of its kind in the United States, is aimed at discouraging young people from smoking.
Keeping cigarettes under wraps could help, anti-smoking advocates say, citing studies that link exposure to smoking with starting it. Shops from corner stores to supermarkets would have to keep tobacco products in cabinets, drawers, under the counter, behind a curtain or in other concealed spots. Officials also want to stop shops from taking cigarette coupons and honoring discounts, and are proposing a minimum price for cigarettes, though it is below what the going rate is in much of the city.
Although some of the research focuses on cigarette advertising, an English study of 11- to-15-year-olds published last month in the journal Tobacco Control found that simply by noticing tobacco products on display, a youth visiting a shop was three times more likely to try smoking, compared with peers who never noticed the products.