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WHO: NYC 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.

WHAT: An advocacy ad to protest the ban on the use of smokeless tobacco in stadiums. Ad text: "SMOKING IS NORMAL / WWW.NYCCLASH.COM"

WHEN: Yankee Baseball Opening Day on April 4, 2016, between the hours of 11:30 am and 12 noon. (Due to FAA regulations flights must leave the area one hour prior to game start and cannot return until one hour after game finish.)

WHERE: Over Yankee Stadium

HOW: Aerial Banner (hired company: Jersey Shore Aerial Advertising)

WHY: Government can silence an industry but this country's laws do not allow it to silence the people which is the stated intention of this ban on the use of smokeless tobacco. This event is a part of C.L.A.S.H's new "Smoking Is Normal" campaign that was announced just ahead of the NYC Council's vote to ban the use of smokeless tobacco in stadiums.


The addition of the prohibition of the use of smokeless tobacco to NYC's "Smoke-Free Air Act" is, first of all, absurd on its face. The Act is being used as a kind of slush fund for the morally bankrupt -- dipping into it for purposes that it was not intended.

The record is undeniable that throughout the law's history - and as sold to the public -- the one and only subject and intent of the Smoke-Free Air Act (SFAA) was to "protect nonsmokers" from the smoke emitted by cigarettes, and not to alter the behavior of smokers or to mold minds, which is exactly the aim of the ban on the use of smokeless tobacco. Rather than create new law, council members use it as cover to avoid backlash.

However, by virtue of the council's justifications, it cannot be called a health law. It's a gag order on a citizen's otherwise legal behavior that our lawmakers have determined is a form of speech. Chewing tobacco "sends a message" they say. "Children shouldn't see it," they say. People labeled "role models" are "influential," they say, even though fans are banned too (and unspoken is that the lawmakers' record states "family and friends" are as equally influential, indicating this moment is but the emotional inch toward the ultimate mile).

The chance of spreading unintended ideas - ideas not approved by government - via observance of legal personal conduct is prohibited by order of the state. Except in the cases of traditional "obscenity" morals, certain secondary effects that have nothing to do with the prohibited conduct, and what SCOTUS has defined as "fighting words," this is unprecedented in modern times.

This means to an end cannot be tolerated. It's the equivalent of outlawing the utterance of the words "I smoke" so that no one will think it's normal. Therein lies the motive behind this law - the advancement of the tactic to "denormalize" smoking/tobacco by anti-smoker proponents. But instead of going after an industry they've come after the people. Now going as far as restricting people's forms of speech - as they insist this "usage" conveys ideas -- is obviously not too high a price to pay for it when it would be intolerable were it anything else.

Industries might be silenced but the people cannot be stripped of such fundamental civil liberties. We will not stand for what amounts to government dictating what we can and cannot say in their quest to "denormalize" what has traditionally been the norm so that they may artificially manufacture a new norm - no less through means that have never been our country's norm. True normality requires no external restraining force to maintain it.

A private citizen's use of any form of tobacco, whether it's smoking a cigarette or chewing tobacco, regardless of where it occurs or the status of that person, is simply a daily activity that has no more meaning in context than putting pepper on one's food.

To say it's normal is not to say it's not good, it's not bad, it's not prideful, it's not shameful, it's not encouraged, it's not discouraged. Peppering food... or chewing tobacco or smoking is simply what's done.

But redefine one's everyday way of life to mean no more than a never-ending series of "messages" and then conscript the people into carrying only messages approved by government by telling us what we can't "say"? Well, forced to play on those terms, we'll not only prove that we damn well can say it by flying this banner over the heart of their agenda but that it's time to point out to the people what's really normal and what's not; who has a healthy respect for our country's fundamental principles and who is throwing them away.on a prohibitionist crusade.

Tobacco use has been the norm for centuries in this country. Censorship of potential ideas that are unintentionally created by everyday people doing everyday things has never been.


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

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