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Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Trump Targets Regulations, Vegas Cigar Scene, Legal Brief Against FDA Cigar Rule, and More

3 Mar 2017

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post our sampling of cigar news and other items of interest from the week. Below is our latest, which is the 520th in the series.


1) An interview with Las Vegas cigar impresario Michael Frey explores how his endeavors evolved Sin City’s cigar scene from a handful of small shops along the Strip to the home of destination cigar locales including Casa Fuente, Rhumbar, and the recently opened Montecristo Cigar Bar at Caesars Palace. He also talks about his latest project, a renovation of his Cigarbox shop just off the Strip, which includes an updated lounge and bar.

2) In his first month in office, President Trump has taken a critical pose towards new agency regulations passed during the Obama years and an executive order demanding agencies evaluate their rules, which would include the FDA’s cigar regulation. “The sweeping order directs every federal agency to establish a task force to ensure each has a team to research all regulations and take aim at those deemed burdensome to the U.S. economy and designate regulatory reform officers within 60 days and must report on the progress within 90 days… The order says agencies should seek to repeal regulations that ‘inhibit job creation,’ are ‘ineffective,’ impose costs that exceed benefits, or ‘create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory initiatives and policies.'”

3) The Cause of Action Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group committed to “ensuring that government decision-making is open, honest, and fair,” filed an amicus “friend of the court” brief backing the DC Circuit federal lawsuit filed by cigar trade groups challenging the FDA’s cigar rules that went into effect last August. “Common sense appears to be dead at the FDA,” CoA spokesman Patrick Massari said in a statement. The brief notes: “The sheer costs of FDA’s regulation will be so high that smaller, family-owned businesses will no longer be able to comply. The tradition of premium, hand-rolled cigars handed down by generations will turn into a corporate mill. This, as detailed above, will lead to higher prices, reduced choice and quality, and the curtailment of innovation in the market. The FDA’s cynical nod to cost-benefit analysis fails for many reasons, including its ‘tunnel vision’ and inability to consider the cost to consumers, producers, and retailers.”

4) Inside the Industry: Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust’s Steve Saka announced this week that two of his cigars will be arriving soon at retailers across the country. Umbagog has already been released in very limited numbers but will be arriving in larger numbers in the second week this month. Umbagog is a more affordable cigar using a Broadleaf wrapper that doesn’t make the grade for Mi Querida. A week later, Muestra de Saka Exclusivo (6 x 52) will be shipping to over 120 retailers. Muestra de Saka is a Nicaraguan puro featuring tobacco from all four Nicaraguan growing regions: Jalapa, Condega, Ometepe, and Estelí.

5) From the Archives: Our focus at is (obviously) cigars, but many cigar smokers also enjoy pipes. If you are looking for an introduction to pipes, check out this interview with Brian Levine of the Pipes Magazine Radio Show. He discusses how the show came about, his favorite pipes, and some tips for a beginner starting to explore the sometimes intimidating world of pipes and pipe tobacco.

6) Deal of the Week: We recommend Bespoke Post, a monthly collection of awesome items delivered to your door for just $45. Available boxes include fine bar accessories, shaving kits, wine, workout gear, coffee kits, and more. You can skip or purchase every month. Sign up today and you’ll be able to get the March shipment.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Las Vegas Weekly

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