• June 12, 2024

Topless protest

 Topless protest

Photo by Mikael Colville-Andersen

A recent meeting of the Hamptons Health and Safety Board (HHSB) was disrupted when a large group of angry motorists arrived to protest against recently extended restrictions on smoking, according to a story in Dan’s Papers, Southampton, New York, US. The Hamptons police department was called in to keep the meeting from getting out of hand.

At issue for the protestors was a new rule banning smoking in ‘topless’ cars.

“When I initially read about the ban, I thought it must be a misprint – I thought they were probably eliminating smoking in topless bars, not topless cars!” Randy Talbac, head of a local smokers’ rights group, was said to have told the assembled meeting.  “And since there aren’t any topless bars that I know of in the area, I wasn’t too upset. But then it turned out it really was about cars – convertibles, that is – and it’s outrageous.”

The ban on smoking in cars with no tops, whether they are convertibles with the roof down or jeep-type vehicles that have no tops, was said to have come about as a measure to cut down on second-hand smoke exposure.

Christopher Escopillo, the co-chair of the HHSB, explained the genesis of the new rule. “We were getting a lot of concerned citizens coming to us, explaining how they would be sitting in Hamptons traffic behind some guy in a sporty convertible, with his top down, puffing on some big, noxious stogie,” he said. “From their point of view, they are forced to inhale unhealthy air for however long they’re stuck behind the guy. So we decided it was up to the HHSB to do something about it.”

Talbac and his supporters were not impressed by this reasoning, and for a while the situation looked like it might turn violent.

In the end, however, cooler heads prevailed, and Talbac vowed to return with a lawyer and fight the new rule in court.