A Tax Cap, New Name and a Weasel for Senate by Frank Seltzer

There is still hope.  The Michigan legislature has approved a bill that would set a cap on the tax of cigars at 50 cents and it was signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder yesterday.  The previous tax was 32 percent on the wholesale price, so for a $6 cigar, you would pay Michigan about another 2 bucks.  The legislature realized it was losing local sales to mail order and the measure would help level the playing field.  The tax cap only applies to premium cigars costing more than $3 each.

But the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association oppose the measure, saying it would increase the number of kids who try cigars and reduce the number of adults incentivized to quit.

Right it is always about the kids cause we know they go around smoking $25 Davidoffs. According to a faulty analysis the bill would cost the state almost $2 million. But the reality is the tax cap generates more money for the state.

Six other states have capped their cigar tax, which has led to increased tobacco excise and retail sales tax collections in those states, according to the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association, which represents more than 100 Michigan cigar shops.

The new law takes effect November first.

New Name

New CyB


The cigar came out at this summer’s trade show.  It was the Cuenca y Blanco named for Alejandro Martinez Cuenca, the owner of Joya de Nicaragua, and for Joya’s senior VP Jose Blanco.  It was the first joint effort between the two as Blanco had retired last year from La Aurora and joined JdN a few months later relocating to Nicaragua.  Well, now comes a name change.  The Cuenca y Blanco will henceforth be known as “CyB by Joya de Nicaragua”.  According to the company’s release, there apparently was a conflict with another brand.  The change is being made proactively.  According to Dr. Martinez Cuenca, “We did not realize there was any potential conflict over the name, otherwise we never would have used it to begin with.”

In order to avoid any legal challenges, JdN simply changed the name of the cigar.  Says Blanco, “We may have changed the name, but the jewel we have created continues to be exactly the same!”

The newly named cigars started shipping yesterday.



Speaking of JdN

My Uzi Weighs a Ton is a joint venture between Drew Estate and Joya de Nicaragua.  Last year the MUWAT came out and while the flavor was good, it was not a cigar I could smoke because the ring gauge was a 60.  This year,  a smaller version came out called Bait Fish in a 4″ x 44 size.  They are starting to show up in stores now and they are tasty suckers.  The wrapper is San Andres with an Ecuadorian Connecticut binder along with Nicaraguan and Mata Fina fillers made at the JdN factory.  Price is  $6.25.

Another Cigar Shipping

The Quesadas, who make the Fonseca line,  did a limited edition line this year called the Q D’etat.  The goal was to make three very limited cigars with  information for people to join the Cigar Rights of America and get involved in the fight against high taxes and the proposed FDA regulation of cigars.  The first was a Molotov perfecto, the second was the Howitzer, aq huge stick, and lastly comes the Daga ( think dagger).  The cigars started showing up in stores late last week.  The Daga is a long Salamone 7” x 44/50/54 and it uses the blend that the Quesadas had for their sold-out 35th anniversary cigar (although there is a difference in the priming).  The cigar has an Ecuadorian Arapiaca wrapper over  a Criollo ’98 binder with Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers.  Only 1000 boxes of 10 have been made and the retail is just under 10 bucks (state taxes excluded.)

Hypocrisy in AZ

Dr. Richard Carmona was Surgeon General under President Bush from 2002 to 2006.  He was the Surgeon General who issued the report claiming that second hand smoke was a true danger.  In 2003 he told Congress that he would support a ban on all tobacco products.  In other words, a nice guy.

Well now Carmona is running for the Senate in Arizona.  He’s a democrat and turns out Carmona has a bit of ‘splaining to do.  While he hates tobacco, seems he had no trouble making money from  it.  According to the Arizona Republic, Carmona had up to $90k invested in tobacco giants Altria and Philip Morris.  He says he didn’t know he was invested in the stocks and recently sold them (when he had to file his financial statement for the Senate race.)

When he was before Congress, as Surgeon General Carmona said:

“If you are asking me, would I support banning or abolishing tobacco products? Yes. Legislation is not my field. If Congress chose to go that way, that would be up to them. But I see no need for any tobacco products in society.”

 Now he wants to be in Congress so banning tobacco WOULD be in his field…this guy does not need to be in Washington with those views.

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