Written by Puff Staff

Monday, 30 December 2013

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jay zpremium cigar regulations

The past twelve months have been pretty good ones for lovers of fine cigars. Here are a few reasons to look back with fondness in 2013, and have high hopes for 2014!




No new regulations on premium cigars

The bad news is that the FDA is still considering more regulations on premium cigars. The good news is that nothing happened in 2013. Of course, given the tendency of this year’s Congress to avoid passing any laws at all, this isn’t surprising. Still, we can’t get complacent in 2014, so it’s good to know that there are lawmakers, as well as cigar makers, on our side.

What’s behind all the demands for regulation? The main culprit is those cheap, candy-flavored small cigars sold in convenience stores, that bear as much resemblance to a fine, premium cigar as Spam does to filet mignon.

Earlier in the year, the agency was reportedly considering steps such as banning walk-in humidors and seasonal cigar blends, placing graphic warning labels on the cigar boxes and restricting store advertising. Just because we dodged their bullet in 2013 doesn’t mean the issue is dead—we’ll likely be fighting it again in 2014.

Another issue still in limbo is that of charging sales tax on cigar purchases made online. A bill with the name of the Marketplace Fairness Act passed the Senate easily in May, but after being sent to the House, it languished for months before dying in committee a few weeks ago. This is good news, because the bill would have forced online tobacco sellers with annual gross sales of $1 million or more to charge their customers sales tax. While the bill is dead for the present, it could still be reintroduced at a later time.

More discussion on the Cuban trade embargo

Leave it to a couple of high-profile celebrities to bring attention to an issue that affects many Americans. When Jay-Z and wife Beyonce spent their anniversary in Cuba last spring, some members of Congress were up in arms that the popular couple had chosen to vacation in a “Communist” country and hinted that their pal, President Barack Obama, had pulled strings to get them there.


Apparently, those lawmakers were not aware that the U.S. has been allowing “people to people” cultural visits to Cuba since the Clinton administration, so the celebrity couple didn’t need a hall pass from the Prez to make the trip—and neither do ordinary citizens.

The controversial visit to the island nation by Mr. and Mrs. Shawn Carter did serve to renew the conversation over whether the time has come to finally lift the 50+ year-old Cuban trade embargo once and for all. Until that day arrives, U.S. citizens who wish to sample Cuba’s culture—and legendary cigars—will have to settle for a closely-monitored visit to the country.

New smokes

While lacking any earthshaking news on the retail side, 2013 did bring an interesting array of new cigars in a variety of sizes and price ranges. Here are a few to check out.

In March, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, Alec Bradley debuted the limited-release Filthy Hooligan line. Made with filler tobaccos from Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama with a double binder of Honduran and Nicaraguan leaves and a bright green Nicaraguan wrapper, the Filthy Hooligan is available in 6” x 50 ring Toro size.

2013 was a pretty good year for the cigar community.  Keep reading to see some of the new smokes that hit the scene this year.

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