Ok, I did not win last nights Mega Millions Jackpot, so I guess i need to continue plugging away here at Stogie Press, but then again, if I did win, I would probably be doing this even more, as I would have a lot of time on my hands sitting on my yacht. So let me welcome you to the 17th installment of the Stogie Press “Last Weeks Cigar Social Media News and Questions”, where Boston Jimmie scours the world-wide web of cigars and summarizes relevant news and questions of the past week.
Here are this weeks Social Media Cigar News stories and Questions for the week ending October 19, 2018.
- US Embargo Impacts Cuban Agriculture
- Will Alabama’s Butch Jones Smoke a Cigar?
- FDA Updates Unified Regulatory Agenda for Premium and Flavored Cigars
- Question of the Week
US Embargo Impacts Cuban Agriculture
The United States has had an embargo on Cuban good since the 1960’s and according to the Chinese News outlet, xinhuanet.com, the long standing embargo has caused millions of dollars in losses to the Cuban agricultural sector. That sector includes Cuban tobacco and cigars.
In its reporting, the website quotes Leonardo Perez, director of international relations at Cuba’s Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG) as saying:
“Between April 2017 and March of this year, the sector registered an impact of 294.1 million dollars, mainly on the export of premium cigars, homeopathic and alternative health products as well as tropical fruits.
The greatest economic damage for the sector is having no access to the U.S. market to sell the famous hand-rolled Cuban cigars.”
The article goes on to reference Juan Rico, business director of Tabacuba, a local company responsible for the production of the aromatic leaf who is quoted as saying:
“If the island could access the U.S. market, around 50 million units can be sold in the first year….Taking into account the average export prices in 2017 of Habanos S.A., a Cuban-Spanish entity that sells the famous cigars worldwide, we lost close to 134 million dollars last year due to the U.S. blockade as we couldn’t sell the product in that market”
The article continues to describe the many impacts to the Cuban people along with the agricultural and food businesses.
If you would like to read the article in full you can find it here:
Will Alabama’s Butch Jones Smoke a Cigar?
Earlier this week I read a fun little article on knoxnews.com about former Tennessee coach, Butch Jones. As the story goes, Jones left Tennessee to take a position as an Analyst for Alabama. That job, by the way, pays him $35,000 a year but he is not worried about the money since Tennessee owed him a $8.26 Million buyout, when the team fired him late last year.
Now the Alabama players want him to do something he has never done before – smoke a cigar!
Alabama running back Josh Jacobs was quoted as saying:
“He’s never smoked a cigar before. We try to make that a goal of his. We be joking with him about it all the time.”
Why is this such a big deal?
Because it is a long standing college football tradition that the winner of the yearly Alabama-Tennessee game celebrate by smoking cigars.
I guess we should stay tuned to the game today, starting at 3:30 PM to see what the outcome will be and, if the Crimson Tide are victorious, will Jones keep with tradition? He did not last year as the Tide won that match-up and the previous 10 years, but the way Alabama is playing football, odds are, Jones should be puffing on the sideline today!
FDA Updates Unified Regulatory Agenda for Premium and Flavored Cigars
My fellow cigar media associate and great BOTL William Cooper, reported on his website Cigar-Coop.com that the FDA has published its biannual update of its Unified Regulatory Agenda. This agenda statuses the upcoming regulations in work by the FDA.
- Premium Cigar Regulation or Exemption
- Banning Flavored Cigars/Tobacco
Coop notes the FDA statements and discusses them further in his article which you can read here.
The statements by the FDA are as follows:
“The notice requests information on how premium cigars should be defined, the health effects of these products, and their patterns of use. In the proposed deeming rule, FDA had requested scientific information that would support consideration of exempting premium cigars from regulation. FDA received comments claiming that the health risks associated with cigar use generally, or with the use of premium cigars in particular, are not significant because of the way these products are used. Specifically, commenters claimed that these products are not used by youth and young adults, they are not used frequently, and they are not always inhaled. However, the information in the comments did not provide an adequate scientific basis or public health rationale to support excluding these products from regulation”
Evidence shows that flavored tobacco products, especially those that are sweet or are described with terms attractive to kids, appeal to youth and also shows that youth may be more likely to initiate tobacco use with such products. Characterizing flavors in cigars, such as strawberry, grape, orange, and cocoa, enhance taste and make them easier to use. Nearly one million youth in the United States use flavored cigars, placing these youth at risk for cigar-related disease and death. This proposed rule is a tobacco product standard that would ban characterizing flavors in all cigars. We are taking this action to reduce the tobacco-related death associated with cigars.
Visit Cigar-Coop.com for more details on this evolving story.
Question of the Week
This week we turn to Tommy Zman Zarzecki for not one, but 5 questions. Tommy was an editor-at-large for Cigar Advisor and though this is not a recent post, it somehow showed up in one of my feeds. Posted back in March of 2017, Tommy goes on a self described rant in his article – Questions That You Should Never Ask Cigar Smoker.
In the article/rant, he posed 5 questions never to ask a cigar smoker:
- Why do you smoke cigars when you know it’s going to kill you?
- Can I try a puff of your cigar?
- Can you move somewhere else with your cigar?
- Can you put your cigar out?
- Is that cigar a Cuban?
For the answers to these along with Tommy’s rant you can check out his classic article here.