FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 22, 2013
Contact Audrey Silk, NYC C.L.A.S.H., (917) 888-9317
SMOKERS' RIGHTS GROUP RESPONDS TO NYC COUNCIL PROPOSAL TO RAISE SMOKING AGE Established in 2000 with a particular eye on New York, NYC C.L.A.S.H. (Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment) has grown into a nationally active grassroots organization dedicated to advancing, promoting and protecting the interests of adults who choose to smoke tobacco. ____________________________
THE FOLLOWING IS A STATEMENT BY AUDREY SILK, FOUNDER OF NYC C.L.A.S.H.:
New York City Council Speaker, and candidate for mayor, Christine Quinn announced today that she will be introducing legislation that raises the minimum age for tobacco purchase from 18 to 21.
To justify the necessity of such law, Speaker Quinn, along with NYC Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, will recite all sorts of statistics on youth smoking. All of them questionable and disputable. But most of all, none of it relevant in this debate. Because we’re talking about adults… and the unconscionable way these laws are designed to strip them of their adulthood.
The rationale behind raising the age to 21 has absolutely no legitimate basis. It’s government paternalism at its worst. Those having the legal power to redefine adulthood will do so if that’s what it takes to impose their will on others. The unique intolerance for anyone smoking is the anti-smokers’ excuse to reduce adults to the status of children.
Those aged 18 and above are not children. Cigarettes are legal. Responsibility, not “risk” is the issue at hand. At 18 one is deemed adult enough to make responsible choices –to marry, to serve in the military (an immediate risk to health these days), and to vote for the very people who think they’re not smart enough to make an informed decision. Commit a crime at sixteen and you’re charged as an adult! Why? Apparently that is already an age at which government believes they should know better.
When this was first proposed (and subsequently dropped) in October 2006 by Councilman James Gennaro he claimed risk trumps all. There is no doubt that is still the thinking. But life is full of risks. If risk is the measure then at what age are we safe from the politicians’ tyranny?
For the record, my organization 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.