Da Cigar and more by Frank Seltzer


Da Coach of Da Bears has his own cigar.  It is called the Mike Ditka brand and first out of the gate is the Kickoff Series by Camacho.  The legendary football giant will be hosting a kickoff (heh) in his Chicago restaurant, where else…(home of Da Pork Chop).  The ticketed dinner will be on December 14th and will cost $195 bucks a head.  (Though you do get a box of the aforementioned cigars which the coach will sign.)  The kickoff series has three blends, The Player, The Coach and The Hall of Famer.  There will only be 1,000 boxes of each blend which are made at the Tabacos  Rancho Jamastran—the Davidoff factory which makes Camacho and Room 101.  The cigars start arriving in Chicago stores this week.

RIP Armando

Armando Garcia was a cigar maker most of you have never heard of.  However, he certainly was a master of his craft.  At 86, Garcia was the man who maintained those finicky ancient machines that make cigars.  That was no small feat since the machines are extremely old and parts are not available, so you have to be able to make your own.  The machines themselves are amazing, having seen them at Marsh Wheeling, Finck, and Altadis they are fun to watch and the people who operate them have tremendous skills to get the most out of the tobacco.

Garcia, who did not smoke cigars, began working on the cigar machines for American Machine and Foundry (AMF) in the 40s in Puerto Rico.  (Cigar Master Benji Menenndez also worked on the machines and trained with AMF. )  Garcia spent many years at Havatampa and for the past 10 years he was with J.C. Newman in Tampa.   Cigar Aficionado has a nice story on Armando,  Check it out.

Election update

A couple of things I neglected to mention. First the good news:

In Arizona, the voters rejected Richard Carmona in favor of Jeff Flake to be their next U-S Senator.  This is great news because Carmona was the Surgeon General under President Bush who authored the Surgeon General’s warning on Second Hand Smoke in 2006.  In testimony before Congress, Carmona had floated the idea that all tobacco should be BANNED but added as Surgeon General that was not his job, instead it was up to Congress.  Had he been elected to Congress, you know what would have happened.

Also voters in Missouri rejected an increase in tobacco taxes.  This is the third time Missouri has rejected tax increases on tobacco. The proposed increase would have raised cigarettes  by 73 cents a pack (about a 500% increase) and it would have raised Roll Your Own taxes by 25% and everything else ( including cigars) by 15%.  Voters rejected the measure by about 43,000 votes.

That’s the good news…now the bad.  In North Dakota, voters by a 66% to 34% margin took away exemptions to the state’s smoking ban law.  Smoking will now be banned in bars, motel rooms, private nursing homes and, wait for it, TOBACCO SHOPS. Oh yeah and electronic cigarettes are also banned even though there is no smoke nor tobacco in ‘em.

This is how the other side works.  Get a ban then expand it.  Anyone who thinks, ‘oh well they won’t ban smoking in my cigar shop’ is NUTS.  This was a ballot initiative from Smoke Free North Dakota, which is funded by the usual suspects.  The anti’s did it in Springfield, Missouri, until the city council worked out a compromise to allow it under pressure from a ballot initiative.  Now North Dakota does it. There is still an outside chance the North Dakota legislature could change this. Keep your eyes out for this they will never stop until they get a total prohibition on selling and smoking tobacco.

Speaking of Taxes

The smoke nazis always point to the increased revenue they will get from increasing tobacco taxes.  They have not learned the lesson that the more you raise taxes, the less cash you get.  A real world example of this came out this past week in Britain.  Seems they are missing their millionaires — over half of them.  According to the Wall Street Journal, in 2010-2011, the number of taxpayers in Britain who made more than 1 million pounds sterling dropped by 60% from the year before.  That was the year the government put a 50% income tax on anyone making over a million.  The government said the new tax would raise an extra £2.5 billion on top of the total of £13.4 paid by millionaires the previous year.  Not so much.   For 2010-2011, British millionaires paid less than half the previous year £6.5 billion.

Usually states hide the numbers about how much they get when they increase cigarette and other tobacco taxes…but it goes to show,  higher tax rates equals less money.  Maybe some legislators will learn.

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