Written by Puff Staff

Saturday, 06 October 2012

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cigar taxprime time international
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Cigar Maker Challenges Rep Waxman’s Comments

Just because Congress isn’t currently in session doesn’t mean the actions of its members aren’t being criticized. In August, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) sent a letter to the chief of the FDA supporting the agency putting more regulations on cigars and pipe tobacco. Waxman asserted that, “forceful and timely intervention by FDA can stop the tobacco companies from exploiting loopholes and endangering our youth.”



Now Phoenix cigar manufacturer Prime Time International has countered with its own letter to the FDA, refuting Waxman’s charges. The letter, sent September 21 by Prime Time’s secretary and general counsel James Deer, stated: “It is the purpose of this letter to bring some additional facts to your attention and to correct the record in regard to certain of Rep. Waxman's statements. Given the historic charge to the [FDA] to regulate on the basis of science, we believe that the agency should proceed on the basis of sound science and not in reaction to political pressures to any group or individual.”

Deer especially takes issue with Waxman’s claims that cigars are causing more smoking among underage youth and stated statistics to the contrary. “I think that the industry needs to be a little more forthright about correcting a lot of the things that become matters of so-called public knowledge, which are really incorrect.

“We need to help correct the record as it is being made and we need to push back against those who trying to manufacture a situation that leads to the next level of regulation.”

Registration Begins for 2013 ProCigar Festival

If your idea of the perfect vacation involves Dominican cigars, golf, rum and tropical isles, the ProCigar Festival is just what you’ve been looking for.




The 2013 ProCigar Festival is scheduled for February 17-22 in the Dominican Republic. On the agenda are tours of tobacco fields and cigar factories, plus the opportunity to hobnob with some of the top makers of Dominican cigars.

Also part of the trip is accommodations at the posh Casa de Campo vacation resort, where guests can play the hotel’s own Teeth of the Dog golf course. Other festivities include a charity poker tournament, catamaran cruise with snorkeling and a tour of the Brugal rum factory.

For more information and registration, go to:

Michigan Could Cap Cigar Taxes at 50 Cents

There is currently legislation on the desk of Michigan governor Rick Snyder that could cap taxes at 50 cents per cigar, but the bill faces opposition from health organizations.




The bill passed by the state’s House and Senate would help to make cigar retailers more competitive with online retailers, but the measure is opposed by both the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society. They claim the low tax would remove an incentive for adults to quit smoking as well as encourage more young people to try cigars.

Michigan currently imposes a tax of 32% of the wholesale price on cigars and smokeless tobacco, while the tax on cigarettes is $.10 each. Chris McCalla of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association gave this statement in support of the bill: “Michigan retailers are losing revenue to out-of-state businesses due to the state’s excise tax on premium cigars. Implementing a 50-cent cigar tax cap will return business to the state and provide a competitive environment for small businesses.”

If signed by the governor, the bill will go into effect on November 1, 2012.

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