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News: CRA Expands Staff, Builds Support for Bill to Protect Cigars from FDA

13 Oct 2011

In a move many industry leaders have indicated was much needed, this week Cigar Rights of America added another full-time employee. Mike Copperman has been named Legislative Director for Cigar Rights of America. Previously CRA had only two full-time employees.

Copperman was the longtime owner of the Bethesda Tobacco shop just outside Washington, where he spent countless hours educating people on the artisan aspects of premium cigars. (Notably, he graciously conducted a highly educational cigar tasting with the founders of many years ago when this website was just getting started.)

Copperman will be concentrating on the CRA federal effort to advance legislation that will exempt premium cigars from regulation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Specifically, he is a noted authority on the healthcare debate surrounding tobacco, and will be a leading expert challenging many pseudo-scientific  reasons given for extending smoking bans and tobacco taxes that hurt consumer choice.

In a statement released announcing his appointment, Copperman stated, “As a professional tobacconist, it was and is important to respond to the erroneous health claims put forth by those in the field of Tobacco Control, and to do so with sound science, and the use of epidemiological evidence to support our arguments. That effort will be critical to the effort to pass H.R. 1639 and S. 1461.”

FDA Exemption Bill Adds Support in Congress

The push comes as CRA’s central legislative effort continues to add support in Congress. CRA and other pro-cigar associations continue to lobby members of congress to support the “Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2011,” which would protect cigar consumers and cigar manufacturers from crippling FDA oversight.

Since its introduction in April 2011, the “Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2011” (H.R. 1639) has added 81 cosponsors in the House. The companion bill in the Senate (S. 1461) has three co-sponsors: both Senators from Florida (Democrat Bill Nelson, the lead sponsor, and Republican Marco Rubio) as well as Senator Pat Toomey (Republican) of Pennsylvania.

To further efforts to push for this legislation, Cigar Rights of America has recently added a webpage to make it easy for cigar smokers to contact their representatives in support of H.R. 1639 and S. 1461. Concerned cigar consumers should contact their elected officials here.

Patrick S

photo credit: CRA

2 Responses to “News: CRA Expands Staff, Builds Support for Bill to Protect Cigars from FDA”

  1. Uriel Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 6:03 am #

    Has anyone check out that new company Humo Del Diablo? They put out a very interesting tasting and looking cigar called the 'Recon'

  2. ROTHNH Monday, October 17, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    To get back on topic here, It’s great to hear that CRA is adding staff to be more invested –thus more effective — in securing the rights of its members and working hard for all cigar smokers in this country. Focus is more important than ever and CRA’s members are helping all they can — it's encouraging to hear CRA pushing the envelope and cigar manufacturers stepping up (witness the visits to DC) to make things happen.