Bloomberg: People Hate My Bans, Then Love Me for Them

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg claims that his people eventually love him for the rules he imposes on the city.

"After New York City banned smoking, which we got a lot of grief about, I will say -- I got a lot of one-fingered waves, as I would describe them, when I marched by bars on St. Patrick's Day, for example," Bloomberg said yesterday on CNN.

"Today, you march by a bar in St. Patrick's Day, and everybody seems to love you. And because of what New York did, I think it's fair to say most cities in America, all of Western Europe, virtually all of Latin America have now gone smoke-free."

Bloomberg's latest effort is to mandate that tobacco products are kept out of consumers' view at retail stores.

"Well, smoking is going to kill a billion people this century around the world. And the tobacco companies target kids, and they target people in the less-developed countries and people who aren't as lucky as you and I who may be just starting out at the bottom of the economic ladder," he said. "What we're trying to do is to continue the record reduction in smoking."

The mayor brushed off the notion of any "backlash" to his move against big sodas, including Mississippi's recent bill to prevent any local governments from imposing similar restrictions there.

Anyone, he said, "but the beverage companies can see that there's a train coming at them down the tunnel. It's not the light at the end of the tunnel."

"Obesity, unfortunately, partly because of American eating habits that have been exploited overseas, is really getting to be as bad as smoking. It isn't quite there yet, but it's heading in that direction," Bloomberg said.

The mayor's term is up at the end of the year.

"I don't know what I'm going to do in 288 days. I guess go out and look for a job. I work cheap. I get paid a dollar a year now. So salary's not going to be the problem."