Back in May, New York State had to delay a plan to ban smoking in state parks when “smoker’s rights” group objected, and sent the plan back for administrative review.
Now, that group., NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.) has filed a lawsuit against the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) and its commissioner, Rose Harvey, after discovering that “No Smoking” sings were still being hanging in the state parks, beaches and historic sites.
“The intentional use of signage to fool park visitors into thinking that an unofficial policy has the force of law as a coercive tactic to induce compliance with a moral, rather than a legal, dictate cannot be tolerated,” said Audrey Silk, founder of C.L.A.S.H. “Government is taking its war on smokers to the new contemptible level when it determines the rule of law is expendable when it comes ‘to those people.’ Rogue governance is a threat to all.”
The rest of Ms. Silk’s statement, including her encouragement to “smoke ’em if ya got ’em,” is below:
Silk adds, “When already beleaguered adults who choose to smoke are enjoying their outdoor activities this Independence Day holiday we want them to know that they can take to heart words from the day’s founding document that ‘[W]hen a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government…’
“So feel free to assert your independence from tyranny and smoke ’em if ya got ’em because the signs are a lie.”
Joshpe Law Group LLP, a Manhattan law firm, filed the suit on behalf of C.L.A.S.H. Attorney Brett Joshpe said, “regardless of your view on public smoking, one thing is clear: it is wildly inappropriate for unelected personnel to be declaring behavior prohibited, giving the public the false impression of the force of law, when that very behavior is completely legal.” Joshpe also said that if the Office of Parks proceeds to implement the new restrictions without the legislature passing a law first, his client will sue on that basis as well. The suit was filed in Albany County.
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.