Michael Bloomberg, New York City Mayor, has decided that this is the time to change each of our behaviors until we comport with his own. In his newest gambit, he has announced that stores will no longer be permitted to keep tobacco products in public view in their shops. This follows the debacle about selling sodas that has been a source of amusement throughout the nation.
As we recall, Bloomberg tried to keep people from buying sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. This decision was mocked from such disparate entities as Jon Stewart and Sarah Palin. Eventually, earlier this month, New York’s Supreme Court overturned Bloomberg’s decision. Rather than licking his wounds, Bloomberg has instead decided to enter yet another public arena.
After the Sandy Hook massacre, Bloomberg was instrumental in changing gun control legislation in New York state. Since then, he interjected himself into the Congressional race in Chicago to replace Jesse Jackson.
Bloomberg, in his tobacco decision, stated, “New York City has dramatically lowered our smoking rate, but even one new smoker is one too many. Young people are targets of marketing, and the availability of cigarettes and this legislation will help prevent another generation from the ill health and shorter life expectancy that comes with smoking.” In the last decade, the smoking rate has declined from 21.5% to 14.8%.
I’m sure that putting cigarettes under the counter in stores or putting them in brown paper bags will keep people from smoking. When I was young, Pennsylvania has a law requiring stores that allowed minors to put adult magazines under the counter. If I remember right, no one then ever looked at Playboy or Penthouse magazines, since it was so hard to find them.