Happy Birthday Avo and more smoking madness by Frank Seltzer

Avo La Trompeta

Avo La Trompeta

Avo Uvezian is turning 86 on March 22.  To mark the occasion, Davidoff –which distributes the Avo brand—is releasing the 12th limited edition Avo cigar; this time it will be “La Trompeta”.  The tradition of releasing a limited edition cigar for Avo’s birthday began on his 75th.    The 2012 Limited Edition is a dedication to not only Avo,  but to his other passion of jazz.   (For those who only know Avo as a cigar guy, for most of his life he was and still is a jazz musician.  In fact, Avo’s big claim to fame was writing Strangers in the Night that became a hit for Frank Sinatra.  In playing jazz in Puerto Rico, Avo used to smoke cigars and leave extras on his piano for guests to enjoy.  One day he was at the pool with his young daughter Karin when someone walked up and asked Avo for a cigar.  He gave it to him and then his daughter said you should SELL the cigars not give them away. Avo was introduced to Hendrik Kelner in the Santiago and since 1988 Avo cigars have been on the market.  In 1995, Davidoff paid Avo an estimated $10-million for exclusive distribution rights.) “La Trompeta” is a 6.5 x 54 pyramid shape, but with three small circular leaf cutouts to signify the keys on a trumpet.  The cigar itself is a medium to full bodied smoke with an Ecuador Special Sun Grown wrapper.  The suggested retail price is $15.50.

In addition, Avo will be attending several birthday celebrations across the country where the cigar will be released.  The first will be hosted by Davidoff of Geneva at the Grand Havana Room in New York on Avo’s birthday of March 22.   Other events will take place in the coming days in Orlando, Sarasota, Charlotte, Nashua N.H., Sugarland, TX, San Antonio, and Cincinnati   In May, Avo will tour through Germany and Switzerland.  He ends his tour near his home in Puerto Rico in Old San Juan on June 21st.

New Name

Beach Cigar Group, the makers of Gurkha , today has announced a name change.  From now on the company will be called Gurkha Cigar Group.  According to their press release:

“This is a natural and progressive move for the company as we link our identity even more with the Gurkha brand,” said Gary Hyams, President of Gurkha Cigar Group. “The new name is also appropriate to further signal the positive direction the company is taking and will be a tremendous help as we position the Gurkha brand internationally.”

The company notes that 2012 is the 125th anniversary of the Gurkha brand.  The newly named company says there will be a special anniversary cigar coming out later this year to mark the anniversary.

Smoking Ban Roundup

In Indiana, the legislature has passed a statewide smoking bill.  While no one likes yet another smoking ban, the one in Indiana apparently contains a decent bunch of exemptions (which of course they can always take away at a later date.)  The International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association is working on many fronts against smoking bans…the two most recent on their radar are in Oklahoma and Alabama.  The Oklahoma one is particularly sneaky because it allows towns to come up smoking bans stricter than the current state one.  Always check out the IPCPR legislation website for calls to action.  Picking off towns one by one seems to be the strategy of the Anti’s.   If they can get enough towns together then they can force a smoking ban on the whole state.  That is what happened in Springfield, Missouri, but while American Cancer won a battle they may not win the war because residents are fighting back.

In 2010 and 2011, the American Cancer Society reportedly spent over $100,000 — about a dollar per resident or over $9 for every yes vote in the April 2011 election — to implement a smoking ban in the town.  The ban is draconian.  It does not allow for smoking anywhere indoors including in tobacconists, and it even bans e-cigarettes, which of course have neither smoke nor tobacco.   Live Free Springfield—which only has one tobacconist as a member and was actually started as a freedom-based/ property rights coalition –was formed to fight the original election and only lost by about 14-hundred votes on a very limited budget.  Live Free Springfield has not given up.  It has collected signatures on a petition to repeal the draconian law and presented the petition to the city council, which will take up the revision to the ban in two weeks.  Under Springfield’s ordinances, it would take a unanimous vote of the council to change the voter passed ban, but with the petition it only takes a majority.  If the council does not act in two weeks, the measure goes back on the ballot in June.  Jessica Hutson, who co-owns Just for Him a cigar store in Springfield, testified that the ban is hurting businesses.  She added that since the ban began nine bars that had been open for many years already have closed and a tenth will close within a matter of weeks.

What’s it all about?

Up in Ontario, Canada, they are following the lead of Mayor Nanny,  er Bloomberg of New York and are pushing the smoking bans further…outside.    You might think it is because of the risk of 2nd hand smoke (which we know is junk science) but you’d be wrong.  A spokesman for the Canadian Cancer Society gives it up

“It’s about decreasing smoking around children so they don’t emulate that behaviour[sic],” said Joanne Di Nardo of the Canadian Cancer Society, a national group that has advocated with city councils across the country for outdoor bans similar to those in Georgina.

So it is not about health, but about appearances.  They just won’t give up.  So neither can we.

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