Now Mayor Bloomberg Wants to Physically Hide the Cigarettes

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Photo: BRENDAN MCDERMID/Reuters/Corbis

Michael Bloomberg's crusade against tobacco, which he's made both expensive to purchase and inconvenient to use, is not yet over, even as his third and final term winds to a close. A new bill to be introduced to the City Council on Wednesday would require stores to keep cigarettes in drawers or behind counters, cabinets, or curtains, which sounds more effective for porn.

Mayor Bloomberg will doubtlessly explain his logic, at length and with little patience for counterpoints, in the coming days, but it's geared more at kids than drunk impulse buyers: "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," he said in a statement.

New York City would be the first place in the country to put packs out of view, although nations like Iceland and Canada have tried it and seen success stemming youth smoking, according to the city. Still, "Retail stores may advertise and communicate tobacco product and price information to consumers," much to the dismay of the mayor, who has put $600 million of his own money toward anti-smoking activism.

As with his most recent defeat, the soda ban, Bloomberg can expect a financial and legal fight from local bodegas and the groups that lobby on their behalf. Maybe Sarah Palin will light up onstage.