Written by Puff Staff

Wednesday, 02 March 2011

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tobacco legislation

Former CAO employees band together to form new Crowned Heads brand


There's a new brand to look out for in the future, and its principal members are all former employees of CAO. The brand, Crowned Heads, is headed by Jon Huber. Huber previously held the title of director of lifestyle marketing for CAO. He brings along three other CAO veterans that decided to help in forming the new brand. In addition to Huber, the newly formed Crowned Heads team includes CAO's former vice president of marketing Mike Conder, CAO's former creative media manager Michael Trebing, and CAO's former graphic designer Nancy Heathman.

Some of Crowned Heads' creation can be attributed to CAO's involvement in a major merger caused some shakeups among its executives, including Tim Ozgener. The merger also resulted in CAO moving its headquarters from Nashville, Tennessee, to Richmond, Virginia.  Like CAO, Crowned Heads will get its start using Nashville as its headquarters.

Crowned Heads does not have any cigar lines at the moment, but it does hope to have something ready for July's IPCPR convention in Las Vegas. While it's not likely that the company will have a cigar ready by then, a new release should be ready to hit shelves by the end of this year. As for what you can expect from Crowned Heads, the company's website promises cigars of artisanal quality that offer plenty of flavor, balance, and consistency.

Will New York see a cap on cigar taxes?


It's no secret that cigar lovers in New York have had it rough lately. While the smoking bans are bad enough, the state's tax rate on cigars is really hard to stomach. On August 1, 2010, New York's tax rate on cigars skyrocketed from 46 percent of the wholesale price to 75 percent. The tax increase was implemented with the hopes of generating revenue for the state's failing budget. This put a major damper on cigar smoking as a hobby for some, and it caused many to purchase their cigars in neighboring states or online. The shift in buying habits has actually caused the revenue generation plan to backfire, and there are now new proposals in place to institute $1 tax cap on cigars.

The fact that the higher tax rate has not brought in the expected revenue is not much of a surprise. New York's close proximity to neighboring states with lower taxes on tobacco products gives smokers some attractive alternatives to purchasing their favorite cigars in-state. Placing a simple $1 tax cap on cigars makes New York much more cigar-friendly. This allows the state to be more competitive in the cigar market and allows small businesses to stay open. It also allows the state to continue collecting revenue.

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