Updated 03/19/2013 08:54 PM
Store Owners Protest Mayor's Latest Smoking Initiative
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Convenience store owners are telling Mayor Michael Bloomberg to butt out when it comes to his plan requiring them to hide cigarettes in their stores.
The goal of the legislation is to cut down on teen smoking.
Anti-smoking advocates are hailing the legislation, but the president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores called the plan "far-fetched."
Bodega owners said the restriction will slow sales.
"We basically advocate for people to stop smoking because we know it kills," said Fernando Mateo, spokesperson for the Bodega Association of the U.S. "But you know what? It's very difficult for you to tell a bodega owner to lock up the cigarettes, to hide the cigarettes, when this is a high-volume item."
"I have four kids and a wife. I live from that store," said Ramon Murphy, president of the Bodega Association of the U.S. "If they start pulling down each item from my grocery, I have to close the store."
The mayor pointed to studies that show kids who are exposed to cigarettes in stores are more likely to try smoking.
He said his anti-smoking measures helped cut the adult smoking rate by one-third.
The mayor plans to introduce the bill in the City Council Wednesday.