LOS ANGELES, Aug 08, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Driven by increasing calls from cigar connoisseurs and enthusiasts, a consortium of cigar manufacturers and premium cigar retailers have formed Cigar Rights of America (CRA), a nonprofit organization formed to give cigar lovers across the United States a voice in the rising debate over cigar rights for those who enjoy cigars for pleasure.
CRA is a membership organization dedicated to maintaining the personal freedom of individuals to enjoy cigars. Its activities are focused on education about handmade premium cigars, opposing unfair legislation such as excessive state and federal cigar taxes, overly restrictive smoking bans, cigar sales restrictions, and FDA regulation of cigars.
Published estimates show that approximately three to four million Americans regularly smoke premium, hand-rolled cigars. For many, a good cigar is a form of relaxation, and many cigar enthusiasts consider themselves to be connoisseurs, similar to wine experts. CRA membership believes that the increasing number of anti-smoking measures - measures going as far as giving apartment property owners the right to tell renters they cannot smoke in their own homes - and proposed federal cigar tax increases of up to 6,000 percent are encroaching on a personal freedom and right to enjoy cigars.
On Tuesday, August 19, the CRA is launching a major membership drive "Freedom Tour 2008," which will include stops and rallies in five cites: New York City (19th); Minneapolis (20th); Milwaukee (20th); Chicago (21st, two events); and Orlando (22nd). Each stop will include legendary cigar makers and experts who will talk about the art of producing handmade cigars, encourage membership, and speak about the crucial role CRA members can play in balancing the debate between anti-cigar advocates and those who enjoy cigars for pleasure. For most of these cigars makers, their companies are family-owned, small businesses, and producing handmade cigars has been their passion and family tradition.
Friday, August 08, 2008