Undeterred by a court smackdown over his controversial soda size restrictions in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has issued his latest proposal designed to restrict Americans’ personal behavior: he wants New York City shops to keep tobacco products out of storefront windows. Treating tobacco like pornography circa 1947, Bloomberg wants cigarettes, cigars, and other products hidden out of sight. Only when restocking or when specifically requested by a customer would the products be brought into the light of day. Smoking shops would be exempt from the ban.
Bloomberg ripped on the display of tobacco while making this proposal: “Such displays suggest that smoking is a normal activity. And they invite young people to experiment with tobacco.”
Despite Bloomberg’s intense efforts to continue curbing young people’s smoking habit, the youth rate has remained the same since 2007, at 8.5 percent. Bloomberg’s proposal will be taken up at the City Council meeting on Wednesday.
A second bill will be introduced at the same time, and will prevent sellers from allowing coupons for tobacco products, putting a price floor on tobacco products to drive people out of the market, and requiring that tobacco products be packed more cheaply.
Bloomberg denied that his primary motivation was monetary: “People always say, ‘Oh, you’re doing these health things to raise money. No, that is not the reason. We’re doing these health things to save lives.”
It is surely only a matter of time before Bloomberg begins cracking down on the soaring sexually transmitted disease rate in his city by restricting personal sexual behavior, dictating sexual partners, and mandating the use of contraception.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).