Thursday, December 27, 2007

Australian Cigar Smokers Need Your Help

By Gary Korb

If you're an American cigar smoker, then you're all too familiar with the way state and local smoking bans across the country have been enacted into law like a tripped row of dominoes. Fortunately, we have the IPCPR, The Intl. Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (formerly RTDA), and the Cigar Association of America (CAA) to help fight our battle in Washington and in our respective states.

Subjected to similar intolerance Down Under, Australian cigar smokers have formed The Australian Cigar Association. The ACA, led by Mr. Timothy Oliver, is committed to help change local, state and federal laws in order to return the personal rights that cigar smokers enjoyed prior to July of this year.

The goals of the association include proposing that cigar smoking be allowed in cigar lounges, cigar bars, cigar stores and cigar divans at the local level. At the national level, like the case IPCRP and CAA have made here in the U.S., the ACA is determined to prove that cigars are quite different from cigarettes. As stated on the website's home page, "It is the same as comparing a bicycle to a 747 and saying they both provide transportation. The difference between a fine hand made cigar and a cigarette is the same as a bicycle and 747." Moreover, like many of us in the cigar business, they feel that cigars should not be taxed at the same level as cigarettes.

To help advance their cause, I recently received an email from Mr. Oliver, which I have reprinted here:

I have completed a cigar survey that we can use world wide. It is designed to help me in the fight against cigar smoking. What has happened in Australia is that the local governments had given their promise to certain cigar locations exemptions to the new total smoking ban. A couple of establishments spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to meet the exemptions. The local government then backed out of the deal. I want to prove to the local and federal governments that cigar smokers are a political entity that they wish to nurture, not to alienate. The information I collect from all over the world will be made available to any and all pro-cigar organizations. Please pass this site along to all cigar smokers and ask them to please fill out the information.
Thank you for your help and consideration,

- Timothy Oliver

I hope you'll heed Mr. Oliver's request by visiting the ACA website and complete their survey. After all, us BOTL's have to stick together, even if we're separated by several continents.

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