Monday, July 23, 2007

Unity is a beautiful thing

Last week I wrote about the Senate Finance Committee's funding expansion for SCHIP which, if passed, would effectively send the cigar industry as we know it right down beside Davy Jones' locker.

If you missed it, here's a short except that sums it up in two sentences: "Under the current proposal, the large cigar tax rate would increase 156.4% (from 20.719% to 53.13% of the manufacturer’s selling price) and the current tax cap of around $0.05 per cigar would increase an astounding 20,413% to $10 per cigar – essentially making the cap irrelevant. All large cigars would effectively be taxed at 53.13% of the manufacturer’s selling price."

If you're an avid cigar smoker who primarily buys your cigars online, you probably saw several emails urging you to write to your Senators in Washington asking them to vote against the expansion. You probably also received dozens of similar messages from your fellow BOTL's, and I hope you took a few minutes to follow through and write. This is a very serious issue.

But rather than rehash what you've already read, I wanted to note the "unity factor" going on here. From where I sit, the hew and cry from the manufacturers, retailers, and cigar smokers has been nothing short of stunning, and we can only hope that our voices reach the ears of our so-called "representatives" in Washington with such resounding thunder that it shakes them enough to turn this motion around.

According to the original message, the Finance Committee is supposed to vote on this funding this week. In the meantime, we in the cigar industry sit on pins and needles.

As an interesting aside, you may want to check out this YouTube.com video titled STOGIEMEN: A Cigar Smoker's Companion Part Two, where several cigar smokers discuss, in their opinion, the irrationality of smoking bans and point out the differences between cigar smokers and "other" smokers. At the very least, you'll relate to much of what they say, and why so many cigar smokers feel the way we do about this very unique and enjoyable pastime that we share. Doesn't it say somewhere in the Declaration of Independence about "the pursuit of happiness?"

~G.K.

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