Bloomberg explains new push against tobacco - FOX Carolina 21

Bloomberg explains new push against tobacco

By Ashley Killough, CNN
updated 5:17 PM EDT, Mon Mar 18, 2013

(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."

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.


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