Mayor Bill De Blasio (D-NY) is your typical socialist central planner. He thinks he knows what’s best for you, and he will introduce and implement policies that will be for your own good, whether you want them or not. Talk about the fatal conceit.
In the span of two weeks, the Big Apple mayor has increased the minimum price for a pack of cigarettes and has instituted new rules for e-cigarettes. The former will drive the black market, while the latter will not curb smokers’ bad habits. Can’t these politicians just leave the people alone?
The Continued Assault on Smokers
First, prior to the Labor Day holiday weekend, the mayor signed a seven-bill package that aims to reduce the number of smokers in New York City by close to 200,000 within the next three years. One of the measures includes jacking up the minimum price for a package of cigarettes from $10.50 to $13.00, which will ostensibly generate $1 million per year for public housing. Another measure dictates the number of stores that will be permitted to sell tobacco products by limiting the number of issued licenses.
Public activists say that these anti-smoking laws “are so important.” Health Commissioner Mary Bassett told Bloomberg:
The single most important thing you can do for your health is to stop smoking. As a former smoker, I know how hard it is to quit. That’s why these laws are so important — they will make it easier for New Yorkers to quit smoking or never start.
Unfortunately, these public health advocates never understand the unintended consequences of their actions. They may have the right intention, but here is what will happen with such a misguided policy: smokers will head to the black market.
New York City is already home to an immense black market that fills the demand for affordable cigarettes. The higher the government-mandated price and the bigger the tax, the more consumers will turn to the black market to satisfy their insatiable desire for cancer sticks. And it isn’t just burly tobacco addicts getting their hands on cheaper cigarettes, disadvantaged youth are some of the biggest customers of the black market.
Politicians never learn.
Clamping Down on Life Preservers: Electronic Cigarettes
Second, De Blasio, who has an approval rating of 46%, is taking on the electronic cigarette industry. Despite e-cigarettes helping many Americans quit smoking cigarettes, the mayor thinks it is time for the state to crack down on these innovative lifelines. As part of the legislation, there will be several restrictions on e-cigs, including limiting the number of vendors that are licensed to sell them and prohibiting e-cig use from apartment common areas.
Like higher tobacco taxes pushing smokers to the black market, controls on e-cigs will push smokers away from the popular method of kicking the filthy habit.
Studies have repeatedly found that e-cigs are a promising tool in the fight to end tobacco consumption. In July 2016, a study published in the journal Addiction found that more than six million Europeans have quit smoking altogether, and another nine million have curbed their cigarette consumption because of e-cigs.
Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, the study’s lead author, said in a statement:
These are probably the highest rates of smoking cessation and reduction ever observed in such a large population study. The European Union data show that the use of electronic cigarettes seems to have a positive impact on public health for two main reasons: 1. High smoking cessation and reduction rates are observed, and 2. Electronic cigarette use is largely confined to smokers (current and former), with minimal use by non-smokers.
There are also other fears that e-cigs may be a gateway to cigarettes and, thus, need to be strictly regulated to prevent that from occurring. However, this is a concern that is largely unfounded, reports the London Guardian, because e-cig experimentation is “not translating into regular use.”
Yes, De Blasio, and other big government leftists, only like science when it is convenient.
Bill De Blasio Divulges Marxist Philosophy
But there is another factor that many are not mulling over: the lack of respect for private property.
In the legislation, the government is intervening into the private affairs of private apartment blocks by prohibiting e-cigs. This is a bit of an overreach for the fledgling mayor, but it shouldn’t be too surprising because De Blasio detests private property. He revealed as such in an interview with New York City Magazine:
What’s been hardest is the way our legal system is structured to favor private property. I think people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be. I think there’s a socialistic impulse, which I hear every day, in every kind of community, that they would like things to be planned in accordance to their needs. And I would, too. Unfortunately, what stands in the way of that is hundreds of years of history that have elevated property rights and wealth to the point that that’s the reality that calls the tune on a lot of development.
That sounds awfully like Karl Marx. If there was a totalitarian dictatorship in the U.S., he would certainly be one of the head honchos.
In November, New Yorkers will head to the polls, and political observers concede that he will likely be re-elected. It isn’t because of the electorate’s love of De Blasio, but because there aren’t any viable contenders. This leads to the next question: who even likes De Blasio? The cops don’t like the mayor. New York Mets fans don’t like him. The homeless don’t like him. And even little old ladies don’t like De Blasio. Now smokers and e-cig consumers don’t like the big government proponent.
Perhaps this is the reason De Blasio wants to rule our lives with an iron fist: nobody likes the meddling democrat.
Do you support or oppose Mayor Bill De Blasio’s new rules? Let us know in the comments section!