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NYC tobacco product display ban proposed

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said his city plans to become the nation’s first to ban display of tobacco products in retail outlets.

Two bills sent to the City Council would raise prices for little cigars to equal cigarettes, toughen penalties for sellers of illicit tobacco products and remove tobacco products from retail display, according to a statement from the mayor’s office.

Retailers would be allowed to advertise tobacco products and prices, but the products must be stored out of public view in drawers, below the counter, in cabinets or behind curtains, according to the statement. Retailers would no longer be allowed to offer or participate in price discount offers for tobacco products.

“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,” Bloomberg said.

An inspection of more than 1,900 cigarette retailers over the past 18 months found 46 per cent were selling unstamped or untaxed product, the statement said. Penalties for selling illicit tobacco products would be increased, the price of cigarillos raised to the USD 10.50 average for cigarettes and require cheap cigars be sold in minimum pack sizes of four, and little cigars in packs of at least 20, the city administration said. (19 March 2013)