Cigars, Art and the FDA by Frank Seltzer

Late last week, the Oettinger Davidoff Group –makers of Avo and Davidoff among others—announced a major sponsorship of Art Basel a very prestigious art show.  Art Basel takes place in Basil, Switzerland,  and in Miami.  Davidoff is headquartered in Basil.  The new sponsorship means the company will set up about a 1,000 square foot hospitality space which will feature a walk-in humidor and a cigar roller.  There also will be two outdoor Cigar Lounges to allow visitors both VIP and non to enjoy a fine cigar.   Art Basil has additional meaning to Davidoff in that under its prior regime at the company, the Miami Art Basil was where Christian Eiroa was first approached about selling Camacho to Davidoff.  That sale was announced in 2008.

And announced yesterday from Davidoff, Camacho will be releasing new four packs of its highly popular Corojo and Connecticut at the end of the month.  Says marketing director Dylan Austin, “Next time you walk into a cigar store there will be no doubt as to where you can find our Camacho Corojo and Connecticut products.” There will be five different sizes of either the Corojo or Connecticut cigars. The four packs will ship to stores on April 27th.

FDA overload

The Food and Drug Administration has put out new rules for cigarettes, chew and other tobacco products as it tightens the noose around freedom.  The proposed rules won’t become finalized until June 4th.  But as of now, the FDA wants tobacco companies to report quantities of 20 chemicals thought to be associated with cancer,  lung disease and other health problems.  The Secretary of Health and Human Services said”

“Today’s actions [the issuing of guidances on modified risk tobacco products and harmful constituents] represent critical steps forward on providing Americans with the facts about the dangers of tobacco use and to stop children from smoking.”

May I say….Bullshit.

Among the chemicals the FDA says are in tobacco is Carbon Monoxide, which I am pretty certain does not exist in tobacco but rather in smoke…any smoke which is why there are Carbon Monoxide detectors in many homes.  It also comes from car exhaust.  Anyway, the FDA wants tobacco companies to measure that.  In addition the agency has put out new guidelines for so called modified risk products like snus.  The agency is detailing what studies must be made…wanna bet they are multi year multi location studies which would bankrupt most companies?

Dr. Michael Siegel, the tobacco control proponent, says there are between  10,000 to 100,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke (though I would venture to say not just tobacco smoke but ALL smoke like fireplaces and stoves) .  He says most have not even been identified. His overall reaction to this is:

“The entire strategy makes no scientific sense, is not founded in any scientific evidence  base, is misleading and deceptive  at the core, and represents a tremendous waste of time and resources. This is regulation for regulation’s sake, and there is no public health benefit of these regulations.”

Gee a bureaucracy  making up regulations just for regulatory sake.  Who’d of thought that?

The FDA has yet to get its hands on cigars, but without action on your part it is just a matter of time.  And you can see what the FDA is doing to every other tobacco product. The International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) and Cigar Rights of America have been pushing concurrent bills in the House and Senate (H.R. 1639 and S. 1461) which call for keeping the FDA out of premium cigars.  By sending petitions to Congress, so far the House bill has 161 co-sponsors while the Senate version has 6.  More are needed  so if you haven’t written your Congressperson, do it today.


Also on another front, the IPCPR and CRA is petitioning the White House to leave premium cigars alone. The petition is fairly direct it says:

“The FDA is considering the creation of regulations for the premium cigar industry. These regulations will jeopardize over 85,000 American jobs, destroy America’s “mom & pop” premium cigar retailers & manufacturers, and risk over 250,000 jobs in Latin American that produce cigars, impacting the economic/political stability in the region.

We hope you will stand up for small businesses that dot Main Street America & recognize that premium cigars are enjoyed by adults, are not addictive and therefore do not conform to the Congressional intent of the Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act.

Tell the FDA to leave our premium cigars alone. With this nation’s more pressing issues, harming my simple ability to enjoy a cigar should not be a priority of the government.”

This petition though is a bit tricky in that we need at least  25,000 signatures on the petition by May 11. So the clock is running on this one…sign the petition and tell all your friends, stores and anyone else to get moving.  There is no guarantee the White House will do anything even if we hit the target, but in an election year, the more signatures the better.

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