New Garcia y Vega, Property Rights and the Masters by Frank Seltzer

Swedish Match may be adding to its Garcia y Vega line. The company is rolling out a new Garcia y Vega 1882 in test markets in Florida and the greater Philadelphia area. The new Garcia y Vega is a rolled leaf cigar which is also known as “rough cut” and it refers to natural leaf cigars made with a just leaf wrapper and filler.

The new Garcia y Vega 1882 would be going up against one of the most popular all natural leaf cigars in the world — Backwoods. Both cigars use a broadleaf wrapper over fillers. As does the La Gloria Cubana El Perrito… the difference is El Perrito is hand made and contains several fillers while the others are made by machines. But El Perrito is like $2.50 each while the Backwoods is like 80 cents each…so don’t knock it.

MASTERS & Cigars

Over in Augusta, the victory by Bubba Watson at the Masters on Sunday is now in the books. If you didn’t watch, it was an amazing tournament complete with a Double Eagle and a hole in one. The Augusta Chronicle did notice that cigars were still in fashion at Augusta thought not as much as in the 90s. Duh. However, the owner of Marcella’s Fine Cigars in Augusta said Master’s Week is the busiest week of the year for her shops. Golf and Cigars…they just go together.

Live Free Springfield still making progress

The group opposed to the draconian smoking ban in Springfield, Missouri, is still making progress. Earlier this year, the group presented the city council with enough signatures to force the council to either repeal the ban or put it on the ballot. The council two weeks ago punted but apparently the council is still talking. At last night’s meeting, the council took testimony on proposed changes to the smoking ban. For example, exempting e-cigarettes from the ban—which of course do not create smoke and do not contain tobacco. Other exemptions are for tobacco shops, cigar bars, private clubs and theatrical productions. Jessica Hutson of Just for Him – a tobacco shop in Springfield – says while the council is likely to give the shop a pass on the law, she and the group are still going forward with the repeal vote. She says it should be up to the business to decide if smoking is allowed.

Smoking is not the issue, Property Rights are

The Live Free Springfield group has hit on what I have thought is the strongest arguments against smoking bans…that of property rights. David Henderson – a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution – asks in the Library of Economics and Liberty:

“Should restaurants allow smoking or not? Should schools teach evolution or intelligent design or both? Should insurance companies cover contraception? Should I be able to take off my shoes in your living room?”

He then asks what does the last question have to do with the others? His point is whether someone takes off his shoes in your house depends on how you want to use your property. So if property rights are respected none of the other three questions is a public policy question. Consider the smoking bans…Henderson writes:

“Should a restaurant allow smoking or not? I have no idea. Neither do you. Who does? The restaurant owner. The restaurant owner knows that if he bans smoking, he will get more business from non-smokers and less business from smokers. He also knows that if he doesn’t ban smoking, he will get more business from smokers and less from non-smokers. He will make that tradeoff and, if he has no particular interest one way or the other, will likely do so in a way that maximizes his net income from running a restaurant.

Ah, but what about his employees? Don’t they matter? Yes, they do, and the restaurant owner knows that they do and has an incentive to take account of their preferences. If his employees don’t like working where there’s smoke, he will take account of both the extra wages he must pay to get good employees and the higher turnover of employees. These all factor into his decision. Interestingly, though, when I discussed this issue with a former waitress who doesn’t like smoke, she told me that she and her colleagues had preferred, as waiters and waitresses, to work in restaurants that allowed smoking. Why? Because, she said, people who smoked also had a higher probability of drinking alcohol and, therefore, had higher restaurant tabs and paid bigger tips.”

Henderson is a militant anti-smoker by his own admission when it comes to his own behavior and his home. But he also defends the right of people to smoke and property rights. I suggest you read the whole thing.

Another court case

The administration is back in federal court this week as it appeals a judge’s ruling which said the government cannot force tobacco companies to use graphic warnings on their packaging because it violates the first amendment.

The lower court judge ruled:

“The graphic images … were neither designed to protect the consumer from confusion or deception, nor to increase consumer awareness of smoking risks; rather, they were crafted to evoke a strong emotional response calculated to provoke the viewer to quit or never start smoking.”

The F-D-A is acting as part of that lousy 2009 law which gave it authority over tobacco. According to The Hill, critics argue that free speech should not apply to commercial speech—apparently there is some aside to “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech”. Six Democrat Senators urged the F-D-A to appeal the ruling and that is what is happening this week. The Hill also notes:

“The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has projected an 11 percent decline among underage tobacco users thanks to the tobacco law, along with $0.8 billion in savings to the federal government over 10 years, thanks in part to lower costs to the Medicaid program.”

Wow…it saves $800 million over 10 years. Of course we all remember the State Children’s Health Insurance Program…S-CHIP which raised the prices of cigars about a buck a stick. It also affects Medicaid and the C-B-O figured the expansion of S-CHIP would cost an additional $32 billion over four and a half years. Good thing we saved that $800 million. Too bad smoking is declining, wonder where that revenue will come from now? Oh I know more taxes on tobacco.

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