Subject: NYS Smoking Ban
Date:  Thu, 16 Jan 2003
From: Audrey Silk <>
Organization: NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment

Dear Mr. Sampson,

I just completed reading the January 16th NY Times story "In Shift, Restaurant Group Backs Smoking Ban."

During last year's threat of a state-wide strengthening of smoking bans my organization called approximately 200 restaurants in the NYC area.  95% of them were opposed to tighter restrictions and approximately one third of them were more than opposed, they were outraged.  Many weren't even aware of the proposal until we informed them of one.  So who are you talking about when you say 8000 members of your association are for this?  What is that in state-wide percentage of total restaurants?

I can only add that we, your customers, are equally outraged and find it offensive that you subscribe to the "level playing field" defense.  The "level playing field" in fact means that smoking bans are NOT what people want.  And using that to push for the crafting of legislation to make sure you all suffer the same economic outcome is nothing more than helping to craft legislation that denies a segment of society the freedom to assemble where the host is willing to serve them.

Who do you people think you are to determine for everyone BY LAW (as opposed to choice) how hosts choose to cater to customers or which customers should be effectively, by force of law, expelled from those places?

It occurs to our organization that any future lawsuits federally filed on the grounds of constitutional infringements could easily include your organization as accomplices.

To wit:  "Rick J. Sampson, the president of the restaurant association, said it would
create a 'level playing field' for businesses by eliminating smoking as a draw for customers."

Mr. Sampson, what that says is "by eliminating SMOKERS as our customers."

YOU know and I know that if banning smoking is what the people wanted and was good for business, restaurant owners would have banned smoking voluntarily. But to make everyone equally miserable you'll help make law that tyrannizes a group of people (that ironically seem to be good for your business). Our founding fathers would be proud.

Audrey Silk
Founder, NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment
(NYC C.L.A.S.H.)
P.O. Box 1036
Brooklyn, NY 11234
(917) 888-9317