When the Great Indoor E-Cig Ban of 2014 went into effect in New York City last week, libertarians and nicotine fog juice aficionados crammed into a club to thumb their lungs at the legislation. The Health Department declined to intervene and give e-cig advocates the photo-op they were looking for, no doubt a canny move in a deadly dance for the city's hearts and minds. But e-cig users will soon convene to taunt their oppressors once more: on Saturday they'll blow their sweet, cinnamon-flavored clouds of Justice in Central Park.
"These politicians think that vapers are going to just roll over and obey their ridiculous ban on vaping in outdoor public spaces, which includes parks and beaches," Russ Wishtart writes in a press release laden with enough selected quotations from Martin Luther King, Jr., Thomas Jefferson, and Mahatma Gandhi to make your chain-letter forwarding grandmother blush.
The last thing that NYC wants to do is write tickets to individual vapers. They want bar and restaurant owners to do their dirty work for them, just like they did with the smoking ban.
We are not going to let them get off that easily. If they want to enforce this vaping ban, they will have to write tickets to individuals, and we are going to force them to do so in their own backyard. We are literally taking this protest to their house, right at the headquarters of the NYC Parks and Recreation Department: The Arsenal in Central Park.
The NYC Parks Department and the NYPD will be notified in advance exactly where we will be and exactly what we are doing. Additionally, there will be a complaint made by a citizen to both the Parks Department and the NYPD to the fact that we are illegally vaping while we in the act of doing so.
Wishtart, who is a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the city's e-cig ban (the state is now mulling one as well), suggests that this stunt isn't as crazy as it might look.
I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve that I will not reveal in this publicly shared document, but I can assure you that NYC will have quite a bit of egg on their face if they do actually decide to write citations. There will be ample fodder for the media to ridicule the City that’s about all I can say for now.
We asked the Parks Department for a comment and have yet to hear back. Wishtart didn't respond to a request for comment.