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Christine Quinn yesterday said she wants to impose health standards on meals marketed towards kids at chain restaurants. She said those meals should meet the guidelines set by the USDA for school lunches. The standards would apply to chains with at least 15 locations in the city. The change would be made either through legislation, which she may try to pass while still council speaker, or through rules adopted by the Board of Health if she's elected mayor. The proposal was one part of a plan to combat childhood obesity.

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Speaker Christine Quinn yesterday announced legislation that would raise the legal age for purchasing cigarettes to 21, up from 18. The idea was originally proposed by Queens Councilman James Gennaro. Mayor Bloomberg supports the proposal, although he opposed a similar plan in 2006. His office said his position changed after seeing data from the UK showing that a higher age limit would cut smoking for among teens. Data from the journal Health Policy also found similar results.

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Tagged in: children health smoking

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Mayor Bloomberg introduced a bill yesterday that would force retailers to keep cigarettes out of view from customers. It would not affect advertising, which falls under First Amendment protections. Speaker Quinn said she is very open to the idea. A Health Department study found that 80 percent of stores selling cigarettes devote most of their space behind the register to tobacco displays. A British study found that simply noticing tobacco on display raised the odds kids would try smoking by threefold. A second proposed bill would raise penalties for retailers who evade tobacco taxes and create a minimum price of $10.50 per pack. Retailers complain they will lose a lot of business.

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A powerful ultra-Orthodox Jewish counselor was found guilty Monday of sexually abusing a teenage girl over. Prosecutors said he used his status in the community to gain access to young girls who were deemed problems for not following strict Satmar rules. The girl molested was considered too rebellious. This was first time the Brooklyn DA's office won a conviction against a prominent member of the Satmar Hasidic community of Williamsburg for child sexual abuse. Members of the community are wary of reaching out to authorities.

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Childhood lead poisoning cases dropped 17 percent in 2011, achieving new historic low in New York City, according to this Health Department report. The number of lead poisoning cases in young children has declined 56% since 2005.

"While fewer children are suffering from lead poisoning in New York City, too many of our children are still vulnerable to this serious, but preventable, health problem,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. “It is critically important that landlords follow the law and promptly repair peeling lead paint in homes with young children."