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Commentary: Orange Bowl Losers are Freedom and Common Sense

3 Jan 2012

Tomorrow, Clemson and West Virginia will face off in the Orange Bowl, but freedom already lost when anti-tobacco lobbyists and three U.S. senators successfully bullied the Orange Bowl into canceling their three-year sponsorship deal with Camacho Cigars.

In early December, Camacho Cigars, a subsidiary of premium cigarmaker Davidoff of Geneva, announced their partnership with the Orange Bowl to be a “corporate partner” of the game for the next three years and for the BCS Championship game in 2013 when the site of the Orange Bowl would host the biggest game in college football. The deal included cigar lounges at the site of the game, and Orange Bowl officials praised the deal saying, “We pride ourselves in affiliating with quality brands, especially those with strong South Florida ties, like Camacho Cigars.”

But the praise didn’t last long. Anti-smoking lobbying groups got wind of the new partnership and quickly began complaining: “The association of cigar smoking with one of the nation’s top collegiate sporting events sends the wrong message to impressionable young fans and helps market cigars as athletic, masculine, and cool,” the groups wrote in a letter to the Orange Bowl Committee and the NCAA.

Soon, anti-tobacco politicians were piling on. Three Democrat senators (Dick Durbin, Frank Lautenberg, and Richard Blumenthal) wrote to demand the game drop Camacho as a sponsor, writing, “Tobacco has no place in sports, and the promotion of cigars at the Orange Bowl sends the wrong message to young fans.”

Faced with this professional PR campaign and the implicit threat of three powerful senators, the Orange Bowl caved and canceled its sponsorship with Camacho, which it had so proudly announced two weeks earlier.

The whole incident shows the hysteria and propaganda that the are the basis of the anti-tobacco movement. Take a look at some of the other sponsors and you’ll be unable to come to any other conclusion:

No one blinks an eye at the fact that Bacardi and Bud Light are sponsors, apparently “promoting” alcohol towards minors by being sponsors. Meanwhile, Orange Bowl partners Taco Bell, Frito Lay, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Coca Cola are “promoting” horrible health that kills millions who suffer from obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Then there’s Bank of America, perhaps the most offensive sponsor of the game. They took billions in tax dollars for a bailout after helping ruin the American economy by significantly contributing to the mortgage crisis, but no one is clamoring for the Orange Bowl to drop them.

And yet, according to these zealots, “tobacco has no place in sports” and “cigars are just as harmful to [one’s] health as cigarettes.” Even though both claims are demonstrably untrue.

Ultimately, that’s the difference between us cigar smokers and the anti-tobacco crazies. We just want adults to be able to have the choice to enjoy a cigar if they want to. They lie and threaten to stop adults from having that choice.

Patrick S

photo credit: Flickr

Drew Estate

26 Responses to “Commentary: Orange Bowl Losers are Freedom and Common Sense”

  1. Corey Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    I once heard someone say, "The worst kind of tyrant is the one that thinks they're helping you. The tyrant who lusts for riches or power or even blood may someday be sated, but the tyrant that believes he is making things better will never, ever stop." I think of these words every time I read something about the nanny state we find ourselves in.

    • Ira Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

      Can you say Mayor Michael Bloomberg!! To me, he's the absolute king of the nanny state!!

  2. dmjones1009 Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    Makes you long for someone to stand up during speeches by Durbin, Lautenberg, and Blumenthal and shout at the top of their lungs, "You Lie!"

  3. George E Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    Another wrinkle to this is that Florida officials went out of their way and gave several hundred thousand dollars of incentives to lure Davidoff to move to the Tampa area.

  4. Fred Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    I wish that people would understand the difference between cigars and other forms of tobacco such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco. There is no history of premium cigar makers targeting their products towards minors, furthermore there isn't exactly a demand for their products among those under 18. While I could somewhat agree with trying to limit cigarette smoking among minors this has run amok.

  5. Scott Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    “Then there’s Bank of America, perhaps the most offensive sponsor of the game. They took billions in tax dollars for a bailout after helping ruin the American economy by significantly contributing to the mortgage crisis, but no one is clamoring for the Orange Bowl to drop them.”

    Stick to cigars because when it comes to economic matters you have no clue what you are talking about. BAC was required by the Fed., as were all large banks, to participate in the TARP program. They weren’t given a choice. It wasn’t a bailout but a propping up of the entire Money Market system, besides they paid it back.

    What’s really offensive are people like you commenting on things you don’t have the capacity to understand.

    • Fred Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 11:54 am #

      BOA is far from innocent. Regardless of your position regarding TARP BOA has far more skeletons in their closet than Camacho/Davidoff.

    • Tom Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

      Scott,

      I don't know how you can determine from the short article that the author doesn't have the capacity to understand. Sounds like anger talking rather than the facts.

      I do understand. BOA should have been allowed to fail. Taxpayer money should have only been used to protect depositors thru FDIC. This would have prevented unnecessary runs on the banks while allowing institutions that took unjustified risks to fail (with their shareholders and management paying the price). Healthy banks would have swept in an bought the remaining assets. System would have taken care of itself. Requiring participation in TARP was purposely done by the Fed to give cover to the banks.

      Oh – and the Orange Bowl should not have caved in….

      • Scott Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

        "Taxpayer money should have only been used to protect depositors thru FDIC."

        The FDIC is funded by the participating banks, not the taxpayer. I agree BAC's acquisition of Countrywide Mortgage was ill timed and overly aggressive but to blame any commercial bank for the mortgage crisis is just wrong. The true genesis was FannieMae and FreddieMac's abrupt insolvency and AIG's over-extension of underwritten default swap's backed by their own portfolio.

        Banc of America is only controversial if you are part of the OWS crowd who don't have a solid grip on reality.

      • Patrick S Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

        "Banc [sic] of America is only controversial if you are part of the OWS crowd who don't have a solid grip on reality."

        Given that I don't associate with OWS, and I know many other people who don't but all consider BofA to be controversial (because of its association with the bailouts), your statement simply cannot be true.

        I get that we disagree on a lot of things here, but surely simply receiving a multi-billion dollar government bailout (whether to blame or not; whether truly forced or not; etc…) makes a company controversial, does it not? (if not, then we clearly don't agree what controversial even means.)

      • Scott Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

        You complained about hysteria and propaganda being used to prop up the anti-smoking agenda, and I would agree with you.

        Then with this comment "They took billions in tax dollars for a bailout after helping ruin the American economy by significantly contributing to the mortgage crisis" you turned right around and did the exact same thing yourself. They didn't significantly contribute to the mortgage crisis and they sure as hell didn't lend a hand in "ruining the economy". Banks lost money because they were invested when things went south, how is that contributing to the meltdown. If anything they lessened the severity.

      • Fred Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

        Do you work in the banking industry? Their hands are far from clean regarding the current economic situation. And it's not just OWS types that believe that, people across the political and economic spectrum have woken up and realized the travesty of our taxdollars paying for the bank's mistakes. I suggest you do the same. Regardless this is a cigar forum, he wasn't out of line in saying that banks and alcohol producers deserve some of the scrutiny the cigar industry gets.

      • Scott Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

        "Their hands are far from clean regarding the current economic situation. "

        Of course you offer nothing in the way of support for your opinion.

        "people across the political and economic spectrum have woken up and realized the travesty of our taxdollars paying for the bank's mistakes."

        Yeah except TARP has almost entirely been paid back with interest, the taxpayers made money. Unlike the UAW/GM deal that resulted in a $25 billion taxpayer loss. Isn't it interesting how you never hear about that debacle from the OWS clowns.

      • Patrick S Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

        Scott-
        We'll have to agree to disagree. But I would make one final point: There isn't any organized movement that is calling for, let alone has been successful in having Bank of America removed from the list of Orange Bowl sponsors.

        Frankly I'm not even sure I'd advocate that. My opinion is only that if we're going to be so high and mighty about who sponsors college sporting events, Bank of America might be a better target, or liquor/beer companies, or junk food makers, or fast food chains. But only tobacco gets hundreds of newspaper articles and has U.S. Senators making demands… that's real hysteria.

      • Scott Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

        You are exactly right on that point, tobacco for whatever reason, has become this nations tar-baby for progressive lawmaker sanctimony. The worst thing is cigars are everywhere on Capitol Hill especially the Cuban variety.

      • Tom Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

        Yes FDIC is funded by banks but if it had been used to protect depositors (rather than TARP) it would not have not had nearly enough assets and thus needed taxpayer funds. Using the FDIC would have prevented the huge moral hazard issue caused by TARP.

        I agree Fannie and Freddie were the cause. Per the WSJ, 27 million loans (half of all loans) were subprime or otherwise week as of 2008. Of these, 70% were held or guaranteed by Fannie or Freddie. This easy cash allowed the huge run up in prices.

        That being said (and as Patrick stated) BOA is clearly controversial. They received 45B in cash and 118B in guarantees, second only to Citigroup. It has been repaid, but if they had not received it during the crisis they would have failed.

        But you do have me figured out… I enjoy premium hand rolled long filler cigars when I play my bongo drums and complain about the man…

    • Patrick S Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

      Scott-

      You don't know what I do or don't know about economic matters: Yes, I'm aware that Paulson "required" the big banks to take TARP money, but he did so because if he didn't the ones that did would be look even weaker. Personally, I find the fact that BofA got one of the largest bailouts, largest loan guarantees and then still needed more money later suggests they were they were a real target of the bailout, not just forced along for the ride.

      But ultimately, all that is besides my point (which thankfully Fred seems to get). We can disagree about Bank of America's blame (and about many other things), but I would think we'd agree that it is a controversial company.

      My point is that it is a testament to the special hysteria that surrounds tobacco that Camacho/Davidoff is run out of town for partnering with the Orange Bowl, but perhaps the most bailed out corporation in American history, junk food makers and alcohol companies are all non-controversial "corporate partners."

    • Fred Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

      All this defense of BOA is reinforcing another ugly stereotype about cigar smokers, the notion that all of us are snobby WASPS. I think that's another thing the general public and many lawmakers fail to understand, premium cigar smokers are adults with a great diversity in income, political beliefs etc. I apologize for the tangent.

      • Scott Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

        Yeah okay Fred. Now, how about the stereotype that everyone who works for a bank is a snobby WASP ? I hate to the one to tell you, but most bank employees don't make crap.

  6. Robert Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    Couldn't agree more with your last paragraph (though, yeah, your glibertarian leanings show through too much on BoA and the bailout).

    And it really is funny how no one dares question the place of alcohol in sports or the role of alcohol in crime and illness. I guess that's the power of lobbies – easier to push around Camacho than Bacardi, Diageo, Brown-Foreman, or Annheiser-Busch. Don't get me wrong – if you are of legal age (which ought to be 18) you should be able to drink…and I certainly enjoy my scotch. That said, alcohol is clearly more dangerous than "tobacco" – whatever the antis mean by that term. It's linked to crime, violence, death, all sorts of diseases, and is even linked to esophageal and other GI cancers – yet "tobacco" gets the blame for all cancer. It's weird. The rhetorical war being waged against "tobacco" really is a smear campaign full of half-truths, spin, and lies. The term "witch hunt" comes to mind.

    (BTW, there's a great book called "Hyping Health Risks" by an epidemiologist named Kabat. He takes on some ridiculously overblown claims, including second hand smoke. He also points out that obesity is one of the most under-hyped health risks we face. Interesting how all that plays out in this one example.)

  7. @thecigarreport Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    Well said, Patrick! I agree whole-heartedly and posted similar thoughts on my blog… http://blog.thecigarreport.com/2012/01/03/orange-

  8. TedLangly Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Gonna have to clean the crap off your shoe Pat… Maybe start another blog to discuss your uninformed views. how about politicguywithshitonhisshoe.com?

    • jackson Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

      What a dumb comment.

  9. Travis Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    It's preposterous to think a premium cigar company like Camacho is trying to get a bunch of kids to start smoking their cigars; not the right demographic.

    In the short term this is nothing more than mere grandstanding by a handful of senators and a gaggle of anti-tobacco zealots. In the long term they are trying to associate premium cigars with all forms of tobacco consumption, which, if they are successful, will have a devastating impact on the premium cigar industry. Let's hope they fail at this.

  10. Regis Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    So… it was a pretty exciting game, wasn't it? If you like offense. Which I do.

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