Three Bloomberg policies all of America now lives with

February 26, 2020 Off By administrator

Bloomberg is running on his record of accomplishments as mayor of New York City from 2002 through 2013, including economic revitalization, environmental measures and public safety improvements.

But he is also a big proponent of public health, particularly getting people to smoke less and eat better. The media mogul’s actions as mayor helped pave the way for other cities and states — and even the federal government — to enact similar measures, public health advocates say.

“When New York City does it, it’s the spark,” said Rob Crane, founder of Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation, a non-profit consumer group that is not funded by the former mayor.

Requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts

Bloomberg pushed to mandate chain restaurants to post calorie information on their menus and food display tags. He did not back down after the state restaurant lobbying group won an initial round in federal court, instead rewriting the rules so they did not conflict with federal law.

The city’s Board of Health regulation applied to more than 1,500 chain restaurants with 15 or more outlets nationwide, starting in 2008. It was intended to give consumers more information to make healthier choices.

California and Vermont, as well as Montgomery County in Maryland and Albany, Suffolk and Ulster counties in New York, were among the places to follow suit with menu labeling policies.

In 2010, the Obama administration included a calorie count mandate in the Affordable Care Act. It took effect in 2018, requiring such information be posted on menus in chain restaurants, movie theaters and other establishments, as well as for prepared food at supermarkets and convenience stores.

“New York City really helped to clear a path for other states and localities and, eventually, Congress,” said Margo Wooten, vice president for nutrition at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group that’s spearheaded the effort nationwide. It is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the former mayor’s charitable foundation.

Reducing smoking through bans, taxes and minimum age changes

One of Bloomberg’s top priorities is to reduce tobacco use. As mayor, he introduced multiple measures aimed at curbing smoking.

Among the last acts of his administration was to sign landmark legislation in late 2013 to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21, making the city the first major city or state to do so. Congress made the minimum age 21 nationwide as of this year.

Tobacco control was also one of the first steps Bloomberg took as mayor. In 2002, he hiked the cigarette tax to $1.50 a pack, up from 8 cents, a much more aggressive approach than other places and the first of several increases during his tenure. It made buying a pack of smokes among the most expensive in the nation.

That same year, he signed the Smoke-Free Air Act, which banned smoking in indoor workplaces — particularly restaurants and bars. Until then, eateries with seating for more than 35 people…

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