Archive for the ‘Montecristo Reds’ Category

An Intrusive Government, You say?…

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

This past week, five major US tobacco companies filed suit against our federal government in a most unprecedented and landmark fashion. Since the FDA has taken over governing cigarette tobacco, they have wreaked havoc with manufacturers, mandating that large, exceedingly graphic warnings be placed on every pack of smokes. And, to add insult to injury, the companies are being forced to pay for the updating of all their packaging!

629268,h=425,pd=2,w=516The FDA has ruled that by October 2012, cigarette manufacturers will be forced to display one of nine grotesque health warnings on all packaging, and the companies are fighting back, taking the FDA to court on the grounds that the ruling basically violates their right to sell a legal product.

“Never before in the United States have producers of a lawful product been required to use their own packaging and advertising to convey an emotionally charged government message urging adult consumers to shun their products,” said a spokesman for the group of companies.

A complaint has been entered in US Federal Court that also says, “This is precisely the type of compelled speech the 1st Amendment prohibits.”

fda_cigar_sm-250pxGuys, this is going to be one hell of a messy fight, one that we cigar smokers should take great interest in. The cigar industry has been lobbying hard to keep FDA regulators out of our humidors, and thankfully, several government officials are behind a bill to do just that. While I don’t have too much good to say about lifetime politicians, sometimes they’ll surprise us and think with their heads, instead of only pandering to get votes. While those kinds of actions are few and far between, we do seem to have a few politicos on our side.

While I am personally not a fan of cigarette smoking, and feel that cigars are an entirely different animal, in this case, a ruling in favor of the butt makers certainly helps the cigar industry, as we are no doubt targets next in line. It is the opinion of many of the anti-smoking zealots that tobacco is tobacco, lumping cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco into the same category, and to me, that is just wrong. That’s like saying that alcohol is alcohol, which would be putting wine, beer, and whiskey into the same category, when they are all very different types of drinks. Plus, a big part of the FDA’s strategy is to target the minds of children, but as I’ve said on this blog a million times, when have you ever seen kids hanging out, smoking $8 or more Montecristo Reds, TTT Trinidad Reserves, or Hoyo de Monterrey Dark Sumatras? The answer is: You don’t. In my opinion, premium hand rolled cigars are an adult pleasure, created for people who enjoy the relaxing benefits of a finely crafted product…  that yes, is still legal in this here United States of America.

Of course, the FDA won’t comment on any pending litigation, but that didn’t stop Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, calling the FDA ruling ‘frank and honest warnings about the dangers of smoking.’

R.J. Reynolds, vice president and general counsel, Martin L. Holton III, fired back: “Rather than inform and educate, the graphic warnings include nonfactual cartoon images and controversial photographs that have been technologically manipulated to maximize an emotional response from viewers, essentially turning our cigarette packs into mini-billboards for the government’s anti-smoking message.”

My question is as always, if the anti-smoke contingent gets their way and eradicates all forms of smoking, just where will these billions of dollars in tax revenue going to come from? The answer to that one is indeed a scary thought. This is gonna be a hell of a dog fight in public over the coming months, and the outcome will be groundbreaking. Yes, my brothers of the leaf, we certainly do live in interesting times.


Tommy Z . JR Cigars Blog With the Zman

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