FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 2, 2016
Contact: Audrey Silk, Founder, NYC C.L.A.S.H.
Phone: (917) 888-9317
On November 30th the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced its final rule that will ban residents in public housing from engaging in a legal activity (smoking) in their own apartments.  The penalty for violations is eviction.

Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.) first appeals to President-elect Donald Trump to renounce this unprecedented modern day storming of federal government into private homes by rescinding this rule upon taking office.  Its institution represents a degradation of fundamental American ideals on several levels, including states’ rights.  Except for a few local laws centered mostly in California cities, there is not one state in the nation that does not explicitly exempt private homes from their respective smoking ban legislation.

This is not a “right to smoke” case as HUD and its rule supporters assert to pull the wool over our eyes.  At stake is the right of U.S. citizens to be left alone to engage in a legal activity in the privacy of one’s own home. There can be no end to such incursion if one is allowed through.  To quote Vice President-elect Mike Pence, “A government big enough to go after smokers is big enough to go after you.” 1

Importantly, courts have ruled that residents in public housing are as entitled to privacy within their units as those of private renters and owners; that by receiving taxpayer benefits they are not expected to exchange their civil liberties for that benefit at the hands of the federal government.

On those grounds and others we beg the incoming administration for relief from “back handed big government disguised in do-gooder healthcare rhetoric.” 1

Truly, HUD’s callous disregard for the residents who they are literally forcing into the streets with its 25 foot outdoor rule, in all weather and notoriously dangerous public housing complexes, upends their “health” rhetoric. When one group’s health is dismissed then it cannot be about health. Considering that the primary basis for this ban is an alleged but wholly unproved health risk to non-smokers due to smoking that occurs in apartments other than their own, this rule will cause harm and prevent none. (“Quit” – at the point of their rule-making gun -- is their answer and their true motivation for this rule.)

Barring such a revocation, C.L.A.S.H. will have no choice but to file suit.  This rule is fraught with substantial constitutional questions.  They include:

• De facto prohibition.
• Exceeding authority.
• Privacy in the home.
• Disparate impact.

C.L.A.S.H.’s grounds to sue are laid out in full in the public comment, submitted to HUD when the rule was first proposed, by its founder Audrey Silk on behalf of the organization and its members.




Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.) is a grassroots organization established in 2000
dedicated to advancing and protecting the interests of adults who choose to smoke cigarettes or enjoy other forms of tobacco or use electronic cigarettes.