Written by Gary J. Arzt

Monday, 16 June 2008

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clubs and organizationspuros fine cigars event
special eventstobacco legislation

The Cigar Rights of America web site is up and running ... and I read every word on the site and signed up immediately. I paid $30 for one year. You can join for multiple years at varying membership rates; but, I adopted a 'wait and see' approach.

I was hoping the program - what they intend to do; how they intend to do it would have been spelled out. It wasn't, but, I am sure, in short order it will be set down for all to see.

After all, if five percent (5%) of the approximately seven million (7,000,000) cigar smokers in America sign-up at $30 a head, the CRA will garner $10,500,000 in dues. I don't know what the fees paid by the retail tobacconists are or, for that matter, what cigar makers have paid, and will pay. But, there'll be a substantial amount of money available. I'm sure more will be done with it, to further the cause of smokers' rights, then just going to D.C. to have a smoke with Charlie Rangel (dem., NY) and his ilk.

I know all the Founding Members and have a great deal of respect for each and every one of them, and I expect they will present a very well reasoned approach to making our voices heard. It is time we were organized; the ‘antis' always are, no matter what the issue.

One of the first things CRA has to do, and they probably will do it in Las Vegas next month, is to sit down with the IPCPR and coordinate operations with "Friends of the Industry" (my first thought was "What industry?"). But then, the RTDA are the folks who saw fit to include the ominous letters CPR in an organization that is about cigars!

We live in a country where money talks, and in an age it talks louder than ever. If I were to be asked, I would suggest that CRA form a PAC so some of this money raised from dues could be used for political contributions: that is, alas, the best way to get people's ear on Capital Hill.

We need action or we are going to join T-Rex and other extinct species.

And with that in mind, I urge everyone, who enjoys the pleasure of relaxing with a fine cigar; smoking and exchanging views on every subject with other smokers at their favorite tobacconist, to join CRA and just by a show of numbers help them to become a force to be reckoned with!

Having said all that, I will change the subject to something that was very enjoyable to see and participate in.

It was a Customer Appreciation Day to celebrate the first anniversary of a great place in Miami called Puros Fine Cigars (10792 Coral Way - 305.222.2217 – ).

The event began at 11:00 AM, Saturday, 7 June, and was to end at 11:00 PM. I left at 12:30 AM on the 8th and it was still going strong.

What made it so enjoyable and energetic was, as Maurice Hanono (Absolute Premium Cigars) the ‘godfather' of tobacconists in Miami, noted: the age of the clientele was pretty young. He was right; it was something I observed at Puros a long time ago and it bodes well for the industry. Young men smoking and young men opening and operating very attractive cigar stores and lounges. As long as we beat back these anti-cigar zealots!

Frank Ortega, of Capital Cigars, who opened within a couple of weeks of Puros, was there as well ... and everyone had a fabulous time. Joaquin Alvarez's music was terrific. The food was terrific.

At the same time as I and a couple of hundred others were enjoying the day at Puros, I realized that if the zealots and tax-mongers prevail ... events like this could be history.

One picture being worth a thousand words, I'll let these photos speak for themselves and implore all of our readers to adopt the National Rifle Association mindset and fight for our rights!

While I was at the Puros party, Raul Cruz, the Operations Manager of Espinosa y Ortega gave me a few beautiful Lanceros. They were excellent smokes, so it seems to me that EO's new Cubao line will not disappoint the fans they garnered when they introduced 601 a mere two (2) years ago.

Photos from Puros Fine Cigars, Miami FL - Customer Appreciation Day


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