Contact Audrey Silk, NYC C.L.A.S.H., (917) 888-9317

Established in 2000 with a particular eye on New York, NYC C.L.A.S.H. (Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment) has grown into a nationally active grassroots organization dedicated to advancing, promoting and protecting the interests of adults who choose to smoke tobacco.
Beyond disgust with the treatment cigarette smokers (and other tobacco users) have been subjected to already, the $1.60 per pack of cigarettes tax increase was the straw that broke the camel's whip-marked back.
In response, C.L.A.S.H. is announcing the launch of its voter write-in campaign for Election 2010:

In addition to the notice on our web site, you can visit our real-time active campaign on our "I Smoke, I Vote" Facebook page.

The campaign is a twist on the "Vote Them Out" themed effort -- an effort that rarely produces the desired results, thus the twist. We will not vote against anyone by voting for someone else. Because it just doesn't matter. (Keeping in mind too that many incumbents end up having NO challengers for their seats. "Vote them out" then how?)

No matter a politician's words or deeds or party affiliation to date, in relation to tobacco/smoking/smokers, they'll turn their backs on this segment of their constituency somehow, some way, sometime. Rather, our statement (by our action) would be simply that -- a statement -- to attempt to demonstrate to whomever ultimately ends up in office that we are a significantly sized voting bloc that they cannot continue to rob to balance their mishandled budget or to vote on measures that appallingly deprive individuals who engage in a legal lifestyle behavior of their equal protection and signify -- along with their recorded statements -- a contempt for free will.

The rapid fire of so many policies (New York and federal combined) enacted or so far proposed in just the last fifteen years -- unprecedented in any other issue -- illustrates the conscious choice of lawmakers, who agree with or cede to anti-smoker crusaders, to incrementally beat adults who choose to smoke into submission. This is what they have been subjected to:

1995 (NY): Smoking banned in offices and most restaurants.

1998 (Fed): Master Settlement Agreement between the states and tobacco companies. Consumers pay the penalty when tobacco companies raise the price of their product to cover it.

2000 (NY): Cigarette tax increased by 55 cents to $1.11.

2002 (NY): Cigarette tax increased by 39 cents to $1.50.

2002 (NYC): Cigarette tax increased by $1.42 to $1.50.

2003 (NY): Ban on internet purchase of cigarettes.

2003 (NY/NYC): Smoking banned in all restaurants and bars. Covers indoors everywhere; few exceptions.

2004 (NY): "Fire-safe" cigarettes mandated. Leads to explosion of consumer complaints of adverse effects.

2005 (Fed): Private Couriers (UPS, etc.) sign arm-twisting agreement with numerous state AGs to stop delivering cigarettes.

2006 (NYC): Proposal to raise legal age to buy tobacco to 19 and another to 21. (Sine Die)

2007 (NYC): Proposal to ban smoking in cars. (Sine Die)

2008 (NY): Cigarette tax increased $1.25 to $2.75.

2008 (NY): Smoking banned in addiction treatment centers.

2008 (NY): Smoking banned in college dorms.

2009 (Fed): Cigarette tax increased by 62 cents to $1.01, loose tobacco (Roll Your Own) increased from $1.09/lb to $24.78/lb, and other tobacco tax increases including cigars to fund the renewed State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

2009 (NYC): Smoking banned on hospital grounds.

2009 (NYC): Smoking banned at construction and abatement sites.

2009 (NYC): Proposal to prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes. (Sine Die)

2009 (NYC): Prohibition of the sale of flavored tobacco products, including cigars (menthol exempted).

2009 (NY): Proposal to ban smoking within 50' feet of any building subject to indoor smoking ban law.

2009 (NYC): Start of an ongoing campaign aimed at landlords to ban smoking in their apartments (*see related below)

2009 (NYC): Graphic anti-smoking signs mandated display wherever tobacco is sold.

2009 (NY): Proposal to ban smoking in and on the grounds of public housing facilities.

2009 (Fed): FDA awarded authority over tobacco by Congress. Many restrictions to follow.

2010 (Fed): FDA bans consumer preference flavor descriptors ("light", "mild") on cigarette packs.

2010 (Fed): FDA contemplates ban on menthol cigarettes.

2010 (NY): Cigarette tax increased $1.60 to $4.35.

2010 (Fed): Ban on delivery of cigarettes/tobacco by the U.S. Postal Service (PACT Act).

2010 (NY): Proposal to ban smoking in cars.

2010 (NYC): Proposal to ban smoking on beaches and in parks.

2012 (Fed): FDA requires more graphic warnings that cover 50% of cigarette packs.

Many Years: Nonstop anti-smoker commercials on TV, radio, and in print, many depicting smokers as undesirables.

Contrary to all other assertions voiced by members of the public health community, this is the unfolding blueprint to a crusade's SmokER-free society. An attack on private lifestyle behavior is disguised as a protection of "public health." Smoking is hated more than freedom is loved.

Audrey Silk, C.L.A.S.H. founder, says, "Enough is enough. Tobacco is legal. While smokers have been described as "slaves" to cigarettes, no one physically forces one into anyone's mouth. Mr. or Mrs. Lawmaker, one can choose to not start, start, or quit smoking as millions have. One cannot quit you and the laws you force down our throats. Who is the real enslaver?"

We Smoke, We Vote... You'll See.



*First the plan, then the "evidence" needed to back it up. As demonstrated this month by California's Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) where a 3.75 million grant is being offered to applicants who will conduct research on the newly "conceptualized," but unstudied, thirdhand smoke. TRDRP explains, "The findings from this research may have broad implications in policy enactment in California to prevent human exposure to thirdhand smoke in homes...It is anticipated that the research outcomes will contribute to dramatically reducing the exposure of developing and newborn infants, young children, adolescent youth, and adults to potential disease-causing toxicants produced from thirdhand smoke... Funded investigators may be called upon to provide testimony to California legislators and to collaborate with policy researchers to help enact and enforce policies in California to mitigate the health effects of exposure to thirdhand smoke."

TRDRP provides the conclusion and the researcher fills in the blanks. Just what NYC's lead anti-smoker group needs (is waiting for) to push their latest endeavor to ban smoking in homes over their incrementalist top.