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Written by Gary J. Arzt

Thursday, 05 June 2008

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Tags:
clubs and organizationssmoking bans
tobacco legislation
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You are looking at the CRA logo, albeit only in black and white. I have no doubt we will begin to see the CRA logo in the windows of tobacconists all over the country. In fact, the logo was designed by Drew Estate but, there is no doubt that this has been a serious collaborative effort.

Let's hope this is the start of an enormous grass roots movement where cigar smokers will tell the government and the anti-smoking zealots that we're not going to have our rights taken away from us!

I finally had a chance to speak with Jeffrey Borysiewicz, and aside from ...


... modestly denying that he is, or was, the driving force behind CRA, he took the opportunity to note the addition of Tim Ozgener and CAO as Founding Members. He stressed that it was a group effort and will always depend on the input and effort of many, many manufacturers and retailers, and more importantly, the cigar smoker!

The officers are:

  • Carlos Fuente, Sr., Chairman of the Board
  • Keith Park Co-President
  • Jeffrey Borysiewicz Co-President

In responding to my questions Jeffrey was very forthcoming, and some of what he said could be viewed as a 'Mission Statement.' Although, that will undoubtedly appear on CRA's web site.

Question: Do you think the industry failed itself by not separating itself from cigarettes, in the public's eye, more than three (3) decades ago?

Borysiewicz: I believe the problem for cigars began when the anti-smoking lobby started broadening their campaigns from cigarettes to all forms of tobacco - snuff, chewing tobacco, pipes and cigars. The cigar industry is a small industry and is at a major disadvantage when compared to the well funded, well organized anti-tobacco lobby.

However, just because the cigar industry (tobacco growers, cigar manufacturers, cigar retailers and cigar consumers) is a relatively small industry, it does not mean that we should have no voice of opposition to the over zealous anti-tobacco lobby.

Question: Will CRA involve a serious lobbying effort, spearheaded by a serious lobbyist, such as Bill Cohen or Tommy Boggs…of that ilk, I mean?

Borysiewicz: I am not in a position to comment on the CRA's professional lobbying plan. However, the CRA wants to harness the energy of the most powerful lobby of all - the people!

It is the CRA's goal to get cigar enthusiasts involved and motivated to stand up for their rights. Cigar smokers have been abused by our government with excessive taxes, overly restrictive smoking bans and unreasonable sales restrictions. The anti-tobacco lobby will stop at nothing short of the complete prohibition of tobacco. If we don't stand up with a powerful, organized voice to stop the anti-tobacco lobby, the cigar industry in America may become extinct.

There is a current and real threat of a 6,000% increase in the Federal cigar tax if the SCHIP bill passes. This tax will cause cigar prices to double and in many cases triple. Consumers, retailers and manufacturers need to unite to let our elected officials know that this tax is unjust and puts a disproportional burden on cigars.

Question: What is the precise program of CRA?

Borysiewicz: It is the CRA's goal to get cigar enthusiasts to become members. The CRA wants to defend the cigar enthusiast's right to enjoy a cigar. The CRA will actively oppose cigar taxes, smoking bans and sales restrictions on cigars.

Watch for Cigar Rights of America's web site to go live soon and sign-up as a member!

Cigar Rights of America Logo

Original posting about Cigar Rights of America (Part I)

More information on Cigar Rights of America (Part 2)




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