Will President Obama be "cigar friendly?"
My question, and primarily because my job depends on it, is will our new president-elect lend an ear to the plight of American cigar smokers? During their campaigns, both Obama and McCain vowed they would stand up to the "special interest" lobbies. That always made me a little queasy because "big tobacco" and a few other groups such as the IPCPR (International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers), the CRA (Cigar Rights of America), and the CAA (Cigar Association of America) are all we have to defend our rights to enjoy one of life's very special pleasures.
I know dozens of cigar smokers who smoke only one or two cigars a week. They may not be the majority, but they really look forward to that cigar, if only to escape the worries of the world in a cloud of smoke for an hour or two. I would hate see them lose that very special quality time.
Obama's selection of Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff is already making me nervous. Emanuel is the No. 4 ranking Democrat in the House. His record shows that he leans stridently to the left, and has allegedly never reached across the aisle, so we may be in for one heck of fight. Certainly SCHIP will pass with flying colors when it comes around again.
On the other hand, with President-elect Obama's open-mindedness on foreign policy, we may finally see the Cuban embargo lifted. That would certainly be the catalyst to a second "cigar boom," but what good will it do if an "embargo" is placed on smoking altogether?
As cigar smokers, we’re all adults, and we know the risks tobacco presents. Even Mr. Obama has been a cigarette smoker and partaken of the occasional cigar. So if he wants to earn my vote in 2012, I hope he'll think long and hard about how much he enjoyed those cigars before he signs any legislation that will adversely affect the rights of good, hardworking, tax-paying Americans.
~ Gary Korb