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Austinites react to thought of NYC Mayor proposing 'hidden tobacco'

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is at it again. First it was big sugary drinks, next it was a "turn-down-your-headphones" campaign and's smoking.

Bloomberg is proposing legislation that would require store-owners to hide their tobacco products instead of displaying them for all to see -- in cabinets, behind a curtain, under the counter, whatever.

"First we're proposing legislation that would prohibit the display of tobacco products in most retail establishments. The reason, such displays suggest that smoking is a normal activity and may invite young people to experiment with tobacco," Bloomberg said.

Subhash Puri owns a convenience store on South Congress in Austin.

We told him about New York Mayor Bloomberg's plan for the big apple.

"I think that's not a very good idea because the people who want to smoke, they definitely...they ask. 'I want a cigarette,'" Puri said.

Puri says if it happened to his store, it would be hard to implement as well.

"How do we hide that many cigarettes under the counter? It's going to take this whole space. I'll have to make a big rack here to keep all of the cigarettes under the counter," Puri said.

Richard Ruiz is not a smoker but he doesn't think the tobacco products should be hidden, courtesy of Bloomberg.

"I think the guy is just losing his mind, I don't know. He's just trying to control people with taking our freedom away from whatever we want to do," Ruiz said.

Pat Dixon is Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Texas. He definitely hates the proposed legislation and he's afraid if it passes, ideas like that will trickle down to Texas.

"You own yourself. Government's job is to protect you from people that might steal your stuff or beat you up. Government's job is not to tell you what to do with your body or your business," he said.

If Bloomberg is hoping to keep people healthy, Subhash Puri says they should just ban cigarettes all together!

Dixon feels similar -- he doesn't support a cigarette ban at all, but he wishes lawmakers would be more straight-forward with what they're thinking.

"If you're gonna be serious about an issue like this, come at it straightforward. If you want to say it's now illegal to buy or make this product., do that, try that! But don't try these in and around games where you have to hide a certain product in your business. I think these laws are attempts to try to get something done without anyone really knowing what they're trying to do," Dixon said.

We put this story on My Fox Austin's Facebook page and at the time of writing this article, there's only been one comment in support of Bloomberg.

Don writes: "It'll work! They do this with porn mags too."

The proposal will be introduced to the New York City Council on Wednesday.

Apparently it will still allow retail stores to advertise tobacco products. And stores who only sell tobacco products will be exempt.

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