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Commentary: Vote Pro Cigar

5 Nov 2012

Tomorrow, millions of Americans will head to the polls to decide which politicians will make the laws that, for better or worse, we will live under in the coming years. While there are many reasons to vote and many issues to consider, we hope you’ll keep your cigar rights in mind when you decide who to support.

Unfortunately, enjoying a cigar is under attack from legislation and regulation at all levels of government. Who is elected tomorrow could well make the difference when it comes to which cigars we enjoy, and where we are free to enjoy them in the future.

When it comes to presidential candidates, the stances of the major candidates on cigars comes down to a known and an unknown. One of President Obama’s first acts in office was signing into law the largest tax increase on cigars in American history. Not long later he signed into law the bill to regulate tobacco under the FDA, which includes authorization for the FDA to regulate cigars without any further act from Congress, a bill which could in the long run be far more damaging to the cigar industry and the choices cigar smokers have. When cigar smokers petitioned the White House for an official answer about its plans to regulate cigars under the FDA, their calls were answered with a deafening silence.

Obama’s Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, doesn’t have much of a record on theses issues. But considering Obama’s positions and that Romney has been attacked for his criticisms of SCHIP (the tax hike on cigars that Obama signed into law), it’s hard to think he could be much worse. If you’re having trouble pulling the lever for either major party candidate, you also might consider Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, whose philosophical beliefs make him the most likely to keep government’s hands off cigars, even if he has zero chance of getting elected.

But while most of the attention is likely to be paid to the top of the ticket, the races further down the ticket are more likely to have an impact on cigar rights in the years to come. After all, it is Congress that makes the laws, and only Congress has the power to fully repeal the FDA’s authority to regulate cigars.

When it comes to House and Senate races, Cigar Rights of America has a voter guide that every cigar smoker should take a look at before heading to the polls. In a few races, like the Florida and Nevada Senate races, both candidates are co-sponsors of the bill to stop the FDA from regulating (and devastating) the cigar industry. In most races, only one candidate is on record in favor of cigar rights. (In a few races, like Arizona Senate candidate Jeff Flake vs. former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, CRA has gone out of its way to endorse the pro-cigar candidate. In that race, it’s Flake.)

When it comes to local and state races, you’ll need to do your own investigations. But please take the time to do so, since when it comes to smoking bans and state tax rates, these local races make all the difference. And, of course, know if there are referendums on your ballot that would increase taxes or smoking bans.

Ultimately, we’re not going to tell you how to vote because we think you’re smart enough to make that decision for yourself. Just remember that the decisions you make in the voting booth have consequences, and the future of cigar rights (smoking bans, taxes, and anti-cigar regulations) could depend on who is elected tomorrow.

-The Stogie Guys

photo credit: N/A

Drew Estate