Going Too Far

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Going Too Far

NEW YORK -- First he instituted a city tax that raised cigarettes to more than $7 pack. Now New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to make it difficult for smokers to enjoy their purchase.

Bloomberg's proposal last week to eradicate smoking from bars and restaurants in New York City was met with anger by city smokers and tobacco manufacturers.

Brendan McCormick, a spokesman for Philip Morris Cos. Inc., said "an outright smoking ban in hospitality venues definitely goes too far," according to the Associated Press.

He said the company -- the largest cigarette manufacturer, and producer of category leader Marlboro -- supported "reasonable restrictions" but felt that "business owners should have the flexibility in how they deal with smoking in their establishments."

He said once the company sees the legislation, it will decide what "appropriate" action to take.

Bloomberg this week is expected to ask the city council next week to outlaw smoking in the roughly 13,000 establishments not covered by the current anti-smoking law, which permits smoking in bars and in restaurants with fewer than 35 seats.

The New York State Restaurant Association said it will examine Bloomberg's proposal and poll members about whether they support a total smoking ban. The association will issue a new position after looking at the results of the survey, said E. Charles Hunt, executive vice president of
a local association chapter.

Studies by the New York Public Interest Research Group and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo show businesses haven't been hurt by smoking bans, the report said.