Anti-smoking signs could confront smokers at the cash register
New Yorkers who have seen the TV commercials of blocked arteries and amputated fingers highlighting the ill effects of smoking may soon see the graphic images at their corner store.
The city now wants tobacco sellers to post signs as large as three square feet, depicting diseased lungs and anti-smoking information over cash registers or wherever cigarettes are displayed.
At that critical point of decision when theyre going to lay out almost ten bucks for a pack of cigarettes, theyre going to have to think twice, said Sarah Perl, assistant commissioner in the city health departments bureau of tobacco control. Do I really want to pay 10 bucks for mouth cancer? Is that a really good use of my funds?
If the Board of Health approves the proposal, which could happen as early as September, New York would be the first city in the country to require such signage, according to health officials. The regulation could take effect as soon as November and may impact some 12,000 bodegas, newsstands and cigar shops.
A July 30 public hearing is planned.The proposal unveiled yesterday is in keeping with the citys health agenda, which now has chain restaurants posting caloric information on menu boards.
Canada, Australia and New Zealand require similar anti-smoking signs, said health officials, adding that the departments own graphic anti-smoking ads have already proven effective, with calls to the 311 quit line increasing fivefold.
Richard Hu, manager of The Wall Street Humidor, a lower Manhattan cigar shop, said he thinks the signs would certainly prevent children from smoking. But adults would be a different matter.
Adults who smoke for 30 to 40 years are not going to stop for a sign, Hu said.