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May 2, 2013 (MMD Newswire) - - Today the New York City Council Health Committee will hold hearings on three separate smoking-related proposals, including raising the cigarette sales age to 21.

NYC C.L.A.S.H. has opted not to participate any further in proceedings that only serve to pose as the democratic process.

Rather than waste time appealing directly to our city's representatives who have already stated their minds are made up to enact this into law and are merely going through the motions by holding this sham hearing, C.L.A.S.H. will take its appeal directly to the young adults this paternalistic proposal targets.

C.L.A.S.H. has previously stated that no amount of cited questionable health statistics is relevant to this debate. Those aged 18 and above are not children. Cigarettes are legal. Responsibility, not "risk" is the issue at hand.

In the weeks to follow, C.L.A.S.H. plans to run ads in publications such as college newspapers and any other medium that draws young adults illustrating this point, with the spotlight placed on the elected officials who find no issue accepting the votes of the 18 to 20 year-old age group - apparently counting them as mature and informed enough to weigh the issues and vote based on those considerations that will shape the future of our city for everyone - but who deem them too immature and uninformed to purchase a legal product.

Then in order to control smoking by those younger than 18, this older age group is rewarded for their vote by stripping them of the very adulthood that allowed them to vote for these politicians in the first place.

The council members who are proponents argue that those under 18 have access to cigarettes due to situational associations with those in this older age bracket.

But government has no place restricting the rights and privileges of adults in order to control the behavior of children. Suddenly revoking the legal choices of one group traditionally defined as adult in order to achieve this is unacceptable. You don't punish one to influence another. And yet, the message these politicians have for those who help vote them into office is, "Thanks for your vote but don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out."

Lastly, for Councilman James Gennaro to reportedly assert and convince Mayor Bloomberg of the appropriateness of this proposal by comparing it to the legal drinking age of 21 is dishonest. The drinking age was raised by states only after being blackmailed by the federal government when it created the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. The Act itself was not a law. Rather, it strong-armed states into enacting a law by threatening a 10% reduction in annual federal highway funds if they didn't. Were it not for state greed the drinking age could very well still be 18 -- as it should be. The anti-smokers have only this anomaly to hang their hat on for comparative sake when all else (service in the armed forces, contracts, marriage, voting) rides on 18 and, to put a fine point on things, the choice by NYC to dispense the Morning-After Pill in schools to girls as young as 14.

This is the message C.L.A.S.H. will bring to those that actually take this unquestionable violation of the government's role in their lives seriously, perhaps persuading the politicians that should to take it seriously too.

For the record, C.L.A.S.H. is not in the business of encouraging anyone to smoke and our position is that minors shouldn't smoke. There is a law already on the books that covers this. Sales to minors are illegal. Enforce it and leave the adults alone.


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.

Audrey Silk, Founder
Phone: (917) 888-9317



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