How can the average citizen defend cigar rights in their community?
It’s unfortunate that we even need to be discussing how to “defend” your right to smoke a cigar. The very thought is enough to make our founding fathers roll over in their graves. But make no mistake. The sad fact is that as a consumer, you must be involved with the politics of the cigar business if there’s any hope at all of this time-honored tradition surviving long enough for you to celebrate the birth of your child (or grandchild) by puffing on your favorite cigar.
As we speak, the CAA is actively fighting against the Marketplace Fairness Act, the federal legislation that would tax online sales of goods – a law that would be devastating to the cigar industry, since more than half of all premium cigar sales are conducted online or via email. Read more about it in CAA Media Release On Marketplace Fairness Act. But as important as that is, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of defending cigar rights at the local level as well. Read more from CAA president about meeting local threats to the cigar industry and customers in Meeting Local Threats to Cigar Industry and Customers.
Even at the state level – especially at the state level – every attempt to add further regulation to the industry (through smoking bans, increased taxes, and the like) is a blow to the cigar industry … and ultimately, to your individual freedom to light up when and where you want. Last year, CAA and our allies went 9-0 in regulatory fights over flavorings in state legislatures. This year, we’ve also won key victories in Florida, California, and Maryland, and we will continue to monitor and fight each and every new legislation against cigars as it comes up.
We’re hoping you’ll join us in this fight. Fortunately, you don’t have to join mobs of protesters holding picket signs to fight for your cigar rights. There are steps you can take to help defend your freedoms (without risking them in the process).
- Vote! Talk to your local and state candidates, find out where they stand on the issues, and then vote for the ones committed to keeping your individual freedoms in place.
- Contact your elected officials. It’s never been easier. By visiting www.usa.gov, you can click on links that allow you to contact your elected officials at the state and federal level.
- Support CAA, whose lobbyists are on the front lines of the battle to save your rights to smoke a cigar. Earlier this year, CAA and the cigar industry launched a campaign that sent nearly 100,000 emails to Congress in opposition to the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act.
- Stay informed through social media. Social media is the fastest and most effective way for us to keep you informed of smoking bans, taxes, and restrictions as they come up. Be sure to like CAA on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@CigarAssoc).
- Finally (and I’ve saved the best for last), keep supporting the cigar industry by purchasing your favorite cigars.