FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 1, 2008
Contact Audrey Silk, NYC C.L.A.S.H., (917) 888-9317
FREE SPEECH COMES UP LEMONS AT ILLINOIS CASINO
65 Year Old Woman Roughed Up For Smoking Ban Protest-by-Post-It Note
June Caddy, resident of Aurora, Illinois, and distinguished member of the nationally active New York City-based smokers' rights group, Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.), is a regular at Hollywood Casino in Aurora.
On New Year's Eve, Ms. Caddy visited the casino with the intent of having one last comp-ed dinner and one last smoke in freedom before midnight when the smoking ban was to take effect -- an event that would also make this visit her last.
Ms. Caddy brought along Post-It Notes and, in an act of protest of the ban, proceeded to stick a few up on the outside of the casino and approximately four more on the inside. Written on the notes were slogans such as "Smokers stand up for your rights."
Apparently free speech was extinguished along with cigarettes because Ms. Caddy was immediately surrounded by security guards on the gambling floor, yelling they had "caught the Post-It lady!" and demanding that she go with them to their security room. The police had also been called.
Ms. Caddy recounts the scene this way: "I am 65 years old, 5'4", and all dressed up for New Year's and these security guards with very big intimidating arms accost me. Threatened with the police I followed them under duress and entered a large room -- followed by many casino employees. The police shortly rushed in, took my ID, and held me there while the casino security guards took pictures and ran all kinds of checks on me. The situation was surreal," Ms. Caddy continued, "because of course, I have never even had a traffic ticket, I own my own home, have my own successful business, pay my bills, am on Social Security, and am completely known to the casino which comps me all the time."
Blatant in their admissions that smoking bans are merely a tool used by the anti-smoker movement to attain their smoke-free society (1), it is clearly illustrated in this incident when hospitality staff-turned-enforcer unwittingly facilitate a tactic in their playbook: The Thought Police. (2)
The end result of Ms. Caddy's ordeal was that she was "banned [from the casino] for life." Amused because she already had no plans to return, Ms. Caddy laughed, "What a joke. No smoking, no me."
Regardless of Ms. Caddy's plans, C.L.A.S.H. demands a public apology from Hollywood Casino management and Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association.
C.L.A.S.H. founder, Audrey Silk, appalled at the unwarranted treatment and detention said, "I'm sure the anti-smoker crusaders are proud. They can chalk up the capture of their first outlaw instigated by and credited to their war on smokers."
However, if being proud were a race, Ms. Caddy wins. Wearing her newfound label as a badge of honor, she concludes with self-satisfaction, "I am proud to tell you.....I AM THE POST-IT NOTE LADY."
1. "Preemption: Tobacco Control's #1 Enemy." (subhead "Don't Confuse Tools With Goals"). Americans For Nonsmokers' Rights. August 2004.
2. "Fair Boss Saw Smoke, and Put Out Photo. Even a blue ribbon didn't exempt a photo from the state fair's tobacco ban." Syracuse Post-Standard. September 6, 2007.
NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.) is a grassroots organization dedicated to advancing, promoting and protecting the interests of adults who choose to smoke cigarettes. It has no ties to the tobacco industry in any form.