PINOYS WEIGH IN ON BLOOMBERG’S OUT OF SIGHT – OUT OF MIND TOBACCO BILL

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

March 20, 2013

WOODSIDE, NY — Just a week after a judge blocked Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s large sugary drinks ban… the New York Mayor is back with a new ban.

Bloomberg is proposing a new law that would require stores to keep tobacco products out of sight — hidden away from consumers.

His goal: to reduce teen smoking rates.

If passed by the city council, New York would be the first city in the U.S. to enact this sort of measure.
Smokers like Woodside, New York resident Lito Santos says he’s not a big fan of Bloomberg’s ban series.

“Kahit itago mo ang sigarilyo, kahit pa ano gawin mo, maninigarilyo pa rin tao,” Santos said, “Sa kanya, publicity lang yan, walang magagawa siya, diba?”

A study published in last month’s Tobacco Control Journal shows that teens who simply notice tobacco products on display are three times more likely to try smoking than their peers who never noticed the products.

Ban supporters like Alan Creus – a non-smoker, agrees with Mayor Bloomberg’s out of sight – out of mind plan.

Creus said, “He’s just discouraging promoting it and selling it to the young people who are I think are the main target of all these advertisements. I agree with it.”

While retailers and smokers have criticized the Mayor’s public health proposals as “Nanny State” policies, the city government found partnership with grassroots organizations.

Kalusugan Coalition is a Filipino organization that is funded by and a partner of the Department of Health’s Healthier New York Program. It aims to create more opportunities for healthier living in the Big Apple.

Community Health Worker Mohammad Dimaporo ,son of the late Governor Ali Dimaporo said, “In-a-advocate namin sa mga taong pumapasok sa amin to live healthy, but then kung titingnan mo ang community wherein dun sila nakatira walang opportunities for them to do it. (Bloomberg) is giving more choices to the people to live active and healthy eating.”

Espie Perrella, a Kalusugan Coalition Community Health Care worker said, “Kasi nakikita namin sa studies namin sa Kalusuguan Coalition na (Filipinos) are at risk of cardiovascular disease. One of the reasons is because of smoking and also alcohol. So if this is taken away from the stores not visible in the stores, then that would really impact on our children.”

Mayor Bloomberg’s Sensible Tobacco Enforcement Bill, introduced today, also aims to combat cigarette smuggling and the selling of discount tobacco.

This would also set the minimum price of tobacco products at $10.50 and increase penalties for the unlicensed sale of tobacco.

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