Friday, March 26, 2010

Tobacco Taxes for States

I've attached a link to a USA TODAY article on today's front page.

How ironic that the states, in a time when many representatives are trying to KILL smoker's rights, are now looking to INCREASE TAX REVENUES from tobacco to fund their state budget shortfalls.

The message is clear here. Reach out to your state representatives and let them know that as a taxpayer, you have rights as well - rights that are helping in these economic times.

It seems like a never-ending cycle. We need the states to leave tobacco taxes alone.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Avo LE10

Each year Avo Uvezian blends and releases an exclusive cigar made in celebration of his birthday. And every year I anticipate the newest blend of the Avo Limited Editions.

This year I am extremely excited about the Avo LE10. It is reminiscent of the Avo LE05, my favorite of all the LE's.

It takes me back to the night I first smoked the Avo LE05. I was lucky enough to attend the special birthday dinner held each year at Corona. After an amazing meal, great fellowship and conversation, I lit up the Avo LE05 with the guys I was standing with and after a few minutes of smoking in silence we all looked to each other with the same awed looks and said, "Wow." It's those cigar memories that stick with me. That's what cigars can do; give you an anchor point for memorable evenings.

I see this year's dinner being the same. March 20th. Mark it down if you are interested in having one of the best cigar nights to be had. Bring a friend or loved one and celebrate with one of the most remarkable men in the cigar industry.

Visit for more info.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Imports to Cuba from U.S. Drop by One-Fourth

Cuba’s economy is hurting badly, so much so that they are cutting back on food and agriculture imports from the U.S. “Crippling economic malaise” is how the Associated Press describes the situation down south.

Even though the U.S. is still the largest seller of food to Cuba, the communist nation is now turning to counties like Vietnam for cheaper, albeit “lower-quality” food imports and who also offer longer payment terms, according to the AP.

Food and agriculture goods have been exempt from the Cuban embargo since 1960.

A report from the non-partisan U.S.-Cuba Economic Trade Council details the slide in imports from the U.S. to Cuba, revealing a 26 percent drop in imports from 2008 to 2009, from $710 million to $528 million respectively. The AP says imports to Cuba from Venezuela, China, and Spain are down as well.

Also of note: sales of Cuban cigars are also falling, off eight percent in 2009 says Habanos S.A.

“The U.S. market, the largest in the world with 230 to 250 million cigars smoked annually, is off limits to Habanos due to the U.S. trade embargo imposed against Cuba since 1962,” a Reuters article reminds us.

First Columbia, now Lexington, SC

Early this year, Columbia, South Carolina’s City Council considered the idea of changing its smoking ban law so that cigar bars are exempt (retail tobacco stores ARE currently exempt, but not cigar bars that serve alcohol). Now, Lexington, it’s neighboring town 20 minutes to the west, is thinking about allowing bar and restaurant patrons to smoke outside on decks and patios.

“It’s something Mayor Randy Halfacre wants the council to consider for fairness sake. At restaurants elsewhere in the county, diners can light up outside,” reports WIS-TV. Lexington is a town in Lexington County, South Carolina.

Some are hoping the law stays just like it is though, and object to the smoke that can waft over from one smoking table to a non-smoking table outside.

The Lexington Town Council may hold a hearing on the issue this month, according to The Greeneville News.

CRA Call-To-Action: KANSAS and INDIANA

Let's help our friends in Kansas and Indiana!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Do you know....

....the FACTS about the Florida Cigar Industry??? As listed at the 2010 Florida Cigar Summit, here are a few FACTS about the Cigar Industry in Florida:
  • Cigars have been made in Florida since 1831
  • Today, 70% of the cigars sold in the U.S. are either made or imported through Florida
  • There are over 250 Small Business "Mom-and-Pop" cigar shops in Florida
  • There are over 60 Family-Owned, Small Business Cigar Manufacturers, Leaf Dealers, Importers and Cigar Company Headquarters in Florida
  • Cigars are enjoyed as a SOCIAL hobby, not as an addictive habit
  • Cigars are an ADULT product that are very price sensitive - demand is greatly affected by increasing taxes, especially taxes related to total weight
  • Cigar taxes are JOB KILLERS!
  • Cigar taxes increased 700% last year at a Federal Level, one of the highest tax increases on any product in recorded history!
  • Last year's cigar tax increase in Florida led to the closing of the 105-year old Hav-a-Tampa factory in August of 2009, putting 500 people out-of-work in the middle of a recession.
  • Over 5,500 people are still today directly or indirectly employed in the Florida Cigar Industry; any additional tax on the state level would put most of them out of work.

2010 Florida Cigar Summit

The First Annual Florida Cigar Summit Luncheon with Florida's Republican Leadership was held at the Historic J.C. Newman Cigar Factory in Tampa's Ybor City on Friday, February 26, 2010, where cigar manufacturers, cigar leaf growers, cigar brokers, premium cigar retailers, and consumers had the chance to discuss the issues facing Florida's Cigar Industry.

The Florida Cigar Summit was planned in conjunction with the Cigar Association of America, the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association, and the Cigar Rights of America. It included a tour JC Newman's Cigar Museum and a tour of Tampa's only cigar factory that is currently rolling cigars.

Invited Republican Leadership guests included Attorney General Bill McCollum (Florida Gubernatorial Candidate), President Jeff Atwater (FL Senate), President Designate Mike Haridopolos (FL Senate), Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla (FL Senate), Representative Will Weatherford (FL House of Representatives). Additional invitees included the following Florida Senators: Thad Altman, Mike Bennett, Victor Crist, Don Gaetz, Rudy Garcia, Andy Gardiner, and John Thrasher. Invitees from the Florida House of Representatives included the following: Steve Crisafulli, Chris Dorworth, Scott Plakon, and Steve Precourt.

Chair Committee Members included Corona Cigar Company, J.C. Newman Cigar Company, Rocky Patel Cigars, Tabacalera Perdomo, and Thompson Cigars. VIP Host Committee Sponsors included Arturo Fuente Cigars, Camacho Cigars, CAO International, Drew Estate, Nestor Placenica, and Oliva Tobacco (Tampa). Manufacturer Sponsors included Action Label, Alec Bradley Cigars, Ashton Cigars, Casa Fernandez/AGANORSA, EP Carillo Cigars, Felipe Gregario Cigars, Flor de Gonzalez Cigars, House of Oxford, Graycliff Cigars, Gurkha Cigars, IPCPR, La Flor Dominicana Cigars, Mederos Cigars, Miami Cigar, Mike's Cigars Distributors, Oliva Cigar (Miami), Padron Cigars, Puros Indios Cigars, Torano Cigars, and Xikar.

The event was a huge success and we look forward to the next FL Cigar Summit!