Operation ‘Cigar Liberty’ Needs You

By Glynn Loope, Executive Director
Cigar Rights of America

With each passing week H.R. 1639 gains momentum in Washington, DC, as the list of sponsors has grown to twenty-eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives. New to the sponsor list include: Representatives Dan Boren of Oklahoma; John Mica of Florida; Jeff Miller of Florida; Colin Peterson of Minnesota; and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia.

CRA has been working with the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association to advance this critical piece of legislation, by undertaking briefings for members of Congress and their staff, launching our national support petition, and conveying the merits of the legislation, along with the words of support from our membership in a united message to ‘Tell FDA – Leave My Cigars Alone!'

Someone must be listening, because our opposition is already opening their acclaimed propaganda machine, and tossing out false claims to members of Congress. On May 11 for example, a joint letter from the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network [their political arm], American Heart Association, American Lung Association and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids wrote the principle sponsors of H.R. 1639, and proclaimed (as if it were fact) that “each day more than 3,400 kids under 18 years of age try cigar smoking for the first time.” Where do they get this? They state through surveys, but we know that responsible professional community tobacconists do not sell their products to those underage. Period.


They further spout that “cigars are the second most common form of tobacco use among youth.” Well, like many of you, we spend a great deal of time in cigar shops, and “youth” is not exactly the demographic that meets what we're seeing in the community cigar shop. They further list products that they claim would be exempt under the legislation, which is also, simply not true.

Oh, but it doesn't stop there. The University of Maryland School of Law ‘Center for Tobacco Regulation, Litigation and Advocacy' in cooperation with over a dozen individuals and groups, has written FDA via a ‘Citizens Petition' demanding that cigars be regulated. In a letter of May 9, they basically write the preamble to the very cigar regulations that have been predicted, and we need to stop.

They want to apply a cigarette regulatory standard to cigars - plain and simple. Again, they try to play the ‘appeal to youth' angle, though we know that this is a preposterous notion for premium traditional cigars. They seek regulations that would dramatically impact sales, distribution and marketing – again using their proverbial and anecdotal reliance on polls, surveys and related subjective justification.

We noted that the game changed on April 26, 2010 and December 20, 2010 when FDA publicly posted their intent to regulate cigars in the Federal Register. We knew then, our passion for a great cigar was in the FDA political crosshairs. Something has to be done. It starts, now.

The cigar industry is now on offense. With House Resolution 1639 filed in the US House of Representatives, under the banner of the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act, we now have an opportunity to protect this passion we share.

Such legislation can have a profound impact on protecting this industry, from the fields and factories of Central America , to the supply-chain throughout this nation, to your community tobacconist, to enjoying a cigar in your local shop, club or back porch.

We can assure you, nothing could rip the soul of the cigar industry apart, like FDA. For example, some of the (again) hypothetical possibilities, but that are not beyond the realm of reason include: No more walk in humidors (Canadian model); Limits on advertising and promotions; Banning the very word cigar or tobacco; Manufacturers having to submit blends to FDA for “testing,” before heading to your local shop – imagine the impact on boutique cigar makers; Adverse impact on flavored tobacco products; And price impact due to new fees on manufacturers...and that's just the short list.

What you can do:

  • Cut and paste the CRA link to our petition, and spread it among your own network of cigar club members, fellow cigar enthusiasts, and for cigar shop owners, place on your web site and in your promotional emails, so that we can reach all of Cigar Nation.
  • [Note: We are working with industry allies to get a companion bill filed in the U.S. Senate. We will keep you informed of progress on that front.]


Please copy/paste the below FDA Petition link to your website and share with your customers.


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CRA Needs Your Help!

In order to be successful in our fight to enjoy cigars without the threat of smoking bans and high taxation, CRA needs your help. Please consider partnering with CRA through two important methods:

There is strength in numbers! The more members CRA has, the greater voice we have at all levels of legislature. Please help CRA by asking your fellow cigar enthusiasts to join CRA today! Membership starts as low as $35/year.

Our fight around the country is very expensive. We would like to ask all CRA members and cigar enthusiasts to consider making a donation to CRA in any amount you choose.