Written by Puff Staff

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

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industry updatestobacco legislation

Proposal for tax cap on cigars in New York gets rejected


There was some hope for cigar smokers in New York when a proposal for a $1 tax cap on cigars was announced. Unfortunately, that proposal was rejected recently, meaning cigar fans in the Empire State will have to deal with higher prices on their favorite stogies.

Last August, the tax on the wholesale price of cigars in New York jumped drastically from an already high 46 percent to 75 percent. The tax increase was implemented as a way to provide extra revenue for the state's ailing budget. Since the tax hike was introduced, many local shops saw their sales drop, as customers either curtailed their smoking or sought other avenues online or in neighboring states, such as Pennsylvania.

To ease this problem and help boost local business, proponents of the $1 tax cap, namely the International Premium Cigars & Pipe Retailers, the Cigar Association of America, and the Cigar Rights of America lobbied heavily for its acceptance. When all was said and done, the proposal did not gain enough support in the State Assembly, even though it was included in the Senate's version of the budget.

What does this mean for the state of New York and its cigar smokers? It means that New York keeps its distinction of having one of the highest taxes in the country on cigars and other tobacco products. It also means that it's citizens will look elsewhere for their cigar shopping needs. When you consider the plethora of online sites and the close proximity of cheaper alternatives, the state may not get the revenue boost it had hoped for.

President of Cusano resigns


The popular and affordable Dominican brand that goes by the name of Cusano Cigars has just experienced a shakeup in leadership. Joe Chiusano, the company's president, has stepped down. Chiusano's role will be filled by both Bill Holliway and J.T. Guagliardo.

The resignation of Joe Chiusano is not the first time a Chiusano has stepped down from the Cusano throne. His brother, Mike, took the role of company president in 2009 after DomRey Cigar, Inc. was purchased by Davidoff. Mike Chiusano served as president until February 2010, when he handed over the reigns to Joe. Joe Chiusano initially announced his resignation in February, and it has finally become official.

Instead of hiring a replacement from outside the company, Cusano's management decided to promote from within. Bill Holliway and J.T. Guagliardo headed Cusano's marketing and sales divisions prior to the recent promotion. As for the dual-presidency, Davidoff's President Peter Baenninger expressed that it will be a team effort that appears to have a bright future.

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