Unfortunately for cigar smokers in the United States, the war against all things tobacco wages on. Depending on your geographic location and/or city, these laws effect us all, unless you’re on the Vegas Strip, of course. Aside from the ever-growing list of municipalities banning indoor smoking, there is another threat brewing in D.C..
Among the issues, is possible regulation by the USDA/FDA on the following:
- Ban on walk-in humidors, self serve cigar displays, and mail-order cigar sales;
- Ban on all flavored cigars, that are enjoyed by legal-age adults;
- Deface ornate, decorative cigar boxes, often considered an art form with grotesque images;
- Ban on cigar events where free cigars (samples) could be available to legal-age adults;
- Limits on cigar marketing and advertising;
- Imposition of new ‘user fees’ [tax] on cigars, to finance regulations;
- Limits on special release and small-batch cigars, due to mandates that cigar blends be submitted to FDA for pre-approval before release;
- Limits on nicotine levels on cigars to near zero, severely impacting the flavor of cigars;
- Ban on marketing cigar merchandise.
(Information from Cigar Rights of America)
As a life-long resident of West Virginia, some of these items don’t directly effect me. However, most of my purchases come from online cigar retailers who could eventually be shut down. One of the biggest flaws in the proposed legislation is that cigars will be lumped in with cigarettes. Clearly, these items are night-and-day different. Entire economies in Central America could be severely damaged. Not a good thing.
My local cigar retailers, while small, fear tobacco taxes the most. Where profit margins in a struggling economy are already down by double digits, any additional taxation could cause irreparable damage to their establishments. West Virginia’s current cigar excise tax is set at 7% of the wholesale price. This has already caused many of our local shops to struggle with competing with online distributors, especially in areas with lower household incomes.
Luckily, Cigar Rights of America aims to education, mobilize, and lobby the ever-changing regulations in Washington and to combat unnecessary taxation on the cigar industry. Join the fight!