Submitted by Cindy Tweed
On Thursday, small-business owners came up with their focus at the package of anti-smoking legislation of the New York City Council. Bodegas and convenience stores’ representatives said in Lower Manhattan at a Council hearing that the new plans may make it hard to get cigarettes from legitimate businesses.
The proposal is included in the antismoking legislation, which says that the minimum age for the purchase of cigarettes should be raised to 21. The aim is to reduce the number of smokers and keep teenagers away from starting smoking.
The council suggested that retailers should be barred from openly displaying cigarettes or other tobacco products. Also, when retailers are found in illegal cigarette possession, penalties should be raised.
However, the representatives were of the view that the increase in minimum age to 21 would force customers in the arms of pirate distributors, which may include organized crime.
The Korean-American Grocers Association’s president, Chong Sik Lee, from New York said that the proposal could prove bad for the city.
“Concerns about the lack of evidence and the potential negative impacts plain packaging would have on issues such as illicit trade have been raised by many groups in a year-long consultation”, avowed Japan Tobacco International’s UK Managing Director Jorge da Motta.