New York City Proposes Another Anti-Smoking Law
When city mayors talk about making their cities safer, they usually mean that they plan to reduce the crime rate. When Mayor Michael Bloomberg talks about
protecting New York residents, he doesn't limit his rhetoric to the danger of muggers and mobsters. He aims to protect people from themselves.
He has pushed — and sometimes helped pass — legislation to keep New Yorkers from overindulging in sugar, fat and cigarettes. His recent effort to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces was overturned by a judge who called the proposed law arbitrary because it applied to soda but not coffee and other sweetened drinks and affected drinks sold in restaurants but not convenience stores.
Bloomberg has taken an even tougher stance on cigarettes — raising cigarette taxes, banning smoking in most indoor and outdoor public spaces and making it illegal for New Yorkers to purchase cigarettes online. On March 18, he introduced legislation that would prohibit convenience store owners from displaying cigarettes in their stores.
The proposed law, similar to laws in Canada, England and Finland, aims to protect children from the sight of cigarette packages which would, in theory, reduce their interest in smoking.
Passion Does Not Equal Common Sense
Bloomberg is probably well-intentioned. And he is certainly passionate — he has spent $600 million of his own money on his anti-smoking campaign — but there's no reason to believe that his “see no evil” approach will work.
Children in New York can't buy cigarettes — and that's as it should be. At Premium Vapes, we don't permit anyone younger than 18 to purchase electronic cigarettes or browse the inventory on our website. So we understand Bloomberg's desire to keep cigarettes hidden from children's view.
But that doesn't mean we agree with the proposal which, if passed, would be the first of its kind in the United States, according to U.S. News and World Reports.
And here's why:
Children Don't Wear Blinders
Children are exposed to cigarette packages — and secondhand smoke — if they live with a smoker.
In New York, despite Bloomberg's success in reducing the number of smokers in the city, some 853,000 people smoke and about 200,000 children are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes, according to statistics compiled by the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. New York kids also witness their peers smoking — some 18,000 high school students smoke in New York.
Children, particularly the children of smokers, have millions of opportunities to see cigarette packages without ever walking into a convenience store.
Bloomberg says cigarette displays in convenience stores “suggest that smoking is a normal activity. And they invite young people to experiment with tobacco.”
Children are much more likely to be influenced by family members and friends than by a package they see in a convenience store. Our definition of normalcy is shaped by our parents' customs and habits. And children want to do what other children do. Kids wear their hair long or short, curly or straight or dyed in rainbow colors because that's what their peers do.
It doesn't make sense to hide cigarettes in convenience stores that kids may visit infrequently — or never — when they can see cigarettes in use when they hang out with friends and family.
If parents don't want their children to smoke, they can refrain from smoking around their children.
If parents can't or don't want to quit smoking, they can switch to electronic cigarettes to protect their children from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Electronic cigarettes contain nicotine but do not contain tobacco. They emit a vapor when a mixture of nicotine, water, flavoring and propylene glycol is heated by a battery-operated device. Electronic cigarettes do no emit smoke.