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Stogie Guys Friday Sampler CXXXI

6 Mar 2009

In our ongoing effort to make StogieGuys.com as entertaining and informative as possible, each Friday we’ll post a mixed bag of quick cigar news and other items of interest. We call ‘em Friday Samplers. Enjoy.

Burning Money1) While the battle over SCHIP may be over and lost, the anti-tobacco crusade to punish cigar smokers isn’t over—especially at the state level. Maryland and Pennsylvania politicians, among others, are eyeing drastic cigar tax increases to boost government revenue. According to Luxist, the owner of Davidus Cigars, the largest B&M chain in Maryland, said the proposed “90 percent tax rate would put him out of business.”

2) Approved by the House and up for debate in the Senate, the $410 billion spending bill is spurring debate on Capitol Hill over America’s antiquated policies towards Cuba. The would-be law includes provisions that ease U.S. travel restrictions to the forbidden island nation. Proponents, as reported by the New York Times, “hailed the measures as a small but significant first step in changing the relationship between Washington and Havana.”

3) Inside the Industry: Habanos, S.A. is releasing a limited edition Gran Reserva Cohiba Siglo VI that will be sold for at least twice the price of the already expensive regular Cohiba Siglo VI. Avo will be holding a special cigar dinner in New York celebrating his birthday and the release of a new limited edition cigar. When asked about his new Winter Collection Blend, Rocky Patel says its “the most full-bodied smoke I’ve ever made.”

4) Around the Blogs: Stogie Review smokes an Ambos Mundos Sumatra.  Stogie Info reviews the Tex Cigars house brand. Velvet Cigar tries the Marco V. Cigar Inspector inspects the Fuente Epicure.

5) Deal of the Week: These deals from Cuban Crafters are just a few of the many cigar stimulus specials we expect to see. We particularly recommend the 4.5 stogie-rated La Carolina or the 4 stogie-rated J.L. Salazar, both selling around an amazingly low $50 per box of 25. Get yours here while these bargains last.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Flickr

Drew Estate

3 Responses to “Stogie Guys Friday Sampler CXXXI”

  1. The Stogie Guys Friday, March 6, 2009 at 9:10 am #

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    <td style="color: #ffffff; font-family: Trebuchet MS,Verdana,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 18pt;" align="left" valign="top"><span style="color: #ffffff; font-family: Trebuchet MS,Verdana,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: large;">Federal Legislative Update: TTB Releases Initial Steps for SCHIP </span></td>

    <td style="color: #ffffff; font-family: Verdana,Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;" align="right"><span style="color: #ffffff; font-family: Verdana,Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) </span></td>

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    <div style="color: #0066cc; font-family: Trebuchet MS,Verdana,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14pt;"><span style="color: #0066cc; font-family: Trebuchet MS,Verdana,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: medium;">TTB Letter Sent to Distributors Requesting Distribution Center Locations and Retail Accounts Information</span></div>

    <div style="color: #003366; font-family: Trebuchet MS,Verdana,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;"><span style="color: #003366; font-family: Trebuchet MS,Verdana,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">Floor Stocks Tax Does Not Include Large Cigars!

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    <div>March 6, 2009 – In a letter dated March 2, 2009, from the Department of Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), the agency charged with implementing the new SCHIP tax increases, was sent to all distributors in the United States.</div>

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    <div>The TTB requested two items:</div>

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    <div>1. All locations of warehouses and distribution centers that distributors may store tax-paid tobacco products</div>

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    <div>2. A list of distributor's customers to whom tobacco product was sold.

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    <div>Unfortunately, one critical component of the SCHIP statute was omitted from the letter– THERE IS NO FLOOR STOCKS TAX ON LARGE CIGARS. Large cigars, as defined by 26 U.S.C. Section 5701 (a)(2), of the Internal Revenue Service, are cigars that weigh three pounds or more per 1,000. By definition, this excludes most premium cigars.</div>

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    <div>Though the TTB letter explicitly states "any tobacco products held for sale" requires a floor stocks tax to be paid, large cigars are not included.</div>

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    <div style="color: #0066cc; font-family: Trebuchet MS,Verdana,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;"><span style="color: #0066cc; font-family: Trebuchet MS,Verdana,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR)</span></div>

    <div>Chris McCalla</div>

    <div>Legislative Director</div>

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  2. Mark A Friday, March 6, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    Kevin,

    Your hard-line stance against Cuba fails to recognize several important points.

    First, it's hypocritical to embargo Cuba for the missile crisis and other atrocities while we continue to fill our cars with gas from nations that support terrorism and stock our houses with goods from countries with regimes that punish those who criticize their governments. By your assessment, why not also embargo China, Saudi Arabia, etc. and completely bring global trade and the prosperity it affords to a halt?

    Second, the embargo has likely strengthened—not weakened—Castro’s stranglehold on the island by giving him a scapegoat for which to blame all of Cuba’s problems. Please read any of his speeches if you don’t believe me. Meanwhile, other nations with whom we have traded frequently, like China, have grown increasingly market-oriented to the benefit of their people.

    Finally, the embargo, by any measure, has been an abject policy failure. Its goal was to cripple communism on the island and help bring about change. To the contrary, Castro’s regime has been incredibly stable. Maintaining the same embargo we’ve had for almost 50 years will not help the Cuban people.

    You’re right that this argument isn’t and shouldn’t be about cigars. But the only thing the embargo accomplishes—other than the aforementioned negative consequences—is criminalizing all of us who by Cuban cigars anyway.

  3. Kevin D. Korenthal Friday, March 6, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

    I have said it here before and I will say it again. There is absolutely no reason for America to re-examine it’s policies towards Cuba, at this time. Nothing has changed for the better for the Cuban people as a result of the recent leadership change. Access to mp3 players and hairdryers built in this Century do not count. Cuba is ass-backwards even by Communist standards and must continue to be rebuked for failing to modernize its treatment of it’s citizens. This is a game of “Chicken” that America cannot afford to lose. The bottom line is that relaxed embargoes against Cuba will benefit the elite that run that tiny Island prison (and I ain’t talking about GITMO) and not the people of Cuba, the ones we instituted these policies towards. Cigar lovers’ desire to obtain Cuban Cigars cannot outweigh the need to force the Cuban dictatorship to reform its abysmal human rights policies.

    Should the new Castro regine institute serious reforms and make gestures of a desire to have better relations with the rest of the Western Hemisphere, then I will amend my comments. And not a minute sooner.