It’s sad but we all lose something everyday. Some of the freedoms my father had a generation ago gets taken away on almost yearly basis. Some are for the better, other not so much. We lost to right to enjoy a beer and smoke a cigarette simultaneously indoors,- OK no big deal, it might have been for the best, however, the term “Big Brother” in reference to our own government is case and point. Well, Washington legislation is now regulating the premium cigars too.

Industry giant Rocky Patel and retailer Miguel Baez

Industry giant Rocky Patel and retailer Miguel Baez

The cigar industry is under attack. Yes you might not smoke cigars, but think of that when they come after your vape paraphernalia- you know it’s next. As per industry giant, Rocky Patel, Washington is in the midst of crushing the industry. They are proposing a 350,000 dollar tax per type of cigar, per size. All the details are listed at the CRA website. Rest assure if this passes your vape products will be next!!

l to r Robert Caldwell, Aj Fernandez, Willie Flores, Miguel Baez, Erik Espinosa

l to r Robert Caldwell, AJ Fernandez, Willie Flores, Miguel Baez, Erik Espinosa

LIB Magazine made our way over the GWB to Moonachie in the Garden State. The who’s who of the industry were all in attendance. We broke bread with Rocky Patel (Rocky Patel Cigars), Erik Espinosa (Espinosa Cigars), Robert Caldwell (Caldwell Cigars Co), Willie Flores (La Hoja Cigars), AJ Fernandez (AJ Fernandez Cigars) and about 650 of our other closest friends. This was all in benefit of the Port Authority Police Hispanic Society hosted by Juan Cancel. By all accounts this was a successful fund raiser.

BOTL LI and Erik Espinosa

BOTL LI and Erik Espinosa

I’ve come to learn something from observing and talking to people in attendance. The average premium cigar (premium defined as per FDA regulations- sorry actual smokers of Dutchmasters, not talking about you here) smokers is well into their 40s- meaning this product is not marketed to children. The industry skews heavily male- so ladies you’re are welcomed to join but don’t expect riveting conversation. Most have military or uniformed career background- it’s a simple pleasure. Lastly a single malted scotch is the drink of choice because cigar smokers have excellent taste!

My point to this article is not to get anyone to sympathize with the average cigar smoker but rather to give us just a choice. A fighting chance. With the impending opening of the Cuban market this is a very exciting time. Be a part of it!

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