In his continuing assault on the public health crisis in America, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is taking aim at a new vice: cigarette smoking. Bloomberg announced on Tuesday that he would pursue legislation mandating that stores that sell tobacco products make changes to the way in which they are displayed, and unsurprisingly Big Tobacco plans to put up a fight.
At the crux of Bloomberg’s plan is a requirement that convenience stores, 7-11’s and any other shop that carries tobacco products, not display these items in public view but rather keep them behind a screen, in a cabinet, or anywhere out of view. This, according to the Mayor, will help prevent former smokers from making impulse purchases and juveniles from being easily tempted to pursue this high-risk behavior. Additionally, Bloomberg believes that these measures will make progress in curbing the “normalization” of cigarette smoking.
This is not the first time New York City has taken actions to affront the tobacco industry, as a little under a decade ago it banned smoking in all indoor work places, including bars and restaurants. At the time this generated uproar but has now become a normal behavior; in that time smoking in the city has dropped by nearly a third. None of these figures are convincing tobacco companies or industry lobby groups that his is a productive measure, however, as the spokesman for a parent company of Philip Morris (PM) stated, “To the extent that this proposed law would ban the display of products to adult tobacco consumers, we believe it goes too far.”
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Despite being defeated in his attempt to limit soda consumption, these measures if put into effect could set a national standard for major metropolises just as the ban on indoor smoking did a decade ago.
Similar policies are already in effect in Canada, Iceland, Ireland, and England, and if this became the norm in the United States it could very well cut into tobacco companies’ bottom lines.
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1. Philip Morris International, Inc. (PM, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Engages in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in markets outside of the United States. Market cap at $148.89B, most recent closing price at $90.36.
2. Reynolds American Inc. (RAI, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Manufactures and sells cigarette and other tobacco products in the United States. Market cap at $23.59B, most recent closing price at $42.67.
3. British American Tobacco plc (BTI, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Engages in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of tobacco products. Market cap at $101.22B, most recent closing price at $104.99.
4. Altria Group Inc. (MO, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Engages in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States and internationally. Market cap at $67.27B, most recent closing price at $33.47.
(List compiled by Dan Connelly)
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