Out of sight, out of mind? Um, maybe that concept works with little kids and candy (if those little kids are easily distracted), but I have a hard time believing it's gonna work with New Yorkers and cigarettes. You know who DOES think it's gonna work? Mayor Bloomberg. Of course. Having effectively made getting large quantities of soda pop at one time inconvenient, Bloomberg has now shifted his focus to cigarettes: Under the Tobacco Product Display Bill, most stores would be prohibited from displaying cigarettes in plain sight, forced to "hide" them under a counter or in a cabinet.
If the ban passes, it will be the "first of its kind in America." But Bloomberg hopes it won't be the last: "Such displays suggest smoking is a normal activity and invite young people to experiment with tobacco," he says. Um, whatever gets you through the night, Bloomberg.
Seriously, who is he kidding? First of all, "young" people (younger than 18, that is) aren't allowed to buy cigarettes in NYC anyway, and most stores do card suspiciously baby-faced types. Secondly, if he thinks people who are already habitual smokers will be deterred by having to ask the cashier for a pack of menthols ... well, they have to do that already! Because even though the smokes in NYC stores are currently visible, they're still behind the counter. (Considering a pack of cigs costs approximately 8 bazillion dollars, store owners have to do something to discourage shoplifting.)
Hey, come to think of it, if Bloomberg really wants to discourage young people from smoking, why doesn't he just jack the price of a pack of cigarettes up another 5 or 10 bucks? That would probably be way more effective than making everybody play Hide & Go Smoke.
Do you think prohibiting stores from displaying cigarettes "in plain sight" will discourage smoking?
Image via Beatrice Murch/Flickr