Put Your Lighters In the Air for Cigars

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Brothers and Sisters of the Leaf
Anytown, USA

July 15, 2016

Dear Family of the Leaf,

As the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association trade show (IPCPR 2016) approaches, the cigar landscape is changing dramatically before our eyes. Those that will be in attendance are unsure if this will be the last of its kind. While there will be celebrating, transactions, fellowship and networking, there will be an obvious cloud in the air. Not just cigar smoke, but the dark cloud of reality that future events could be considerably different if they are even had at all.

While the theme for this year’s event is “Band Together”, the underlying theme for this year’s gathering in the Vegas desert is “Uncertainty”. There is uncertainty as to whether we will continue to have both well-known and new cigar companies representing their life’s work amongst their peers. Will there be new products to be sampled and shared with brick and mortar staff to aid in making yearly purchasing decisions? Will the thousands of cigar industry employees in attendance have jobs this time next year?

I’m sad and fearful Family of the Leaf. Not just because their will be unwelcome and unwarranted change, but disappointment because we let it happen. The regulation of cigars didn’t happen overnight. It didn’t sneak up on us. Just like any law that oppresses, takes away or inconveniences, it was a process that could have been stopped. In the same amount of time it takes to share a funny or political meme, we could have emailed or called our representatives. Petitions voicing our concerns could have flooded the inboxes and mailbags of the people that could have helped us save this thing that is dear to us. But we didn’t show up the way we could have. We just resorted to merely clicking “Like” on a post about how the FDA is negatively impacting us. That wasn’t enough.

Is it too late to act? I hope not. Has the time passed to lobby and organize for our lifestyle and pastime? I don’t think so. But as millions sit on the sidelines hoping that a dedicated few can make a dent in this anti-cigar legislation that goes into effect as early as next month, what we love is literally going up in smoke. We must support, financially and with action, those that are actually trying to make a difference to protect the jobs, the craft and the lifelong work that goes into every cigar we enjoy.

There is strength in numbers. And as large as our special community is we have the ability to spread the word to more and more people…thus motivating more citizens to reach out to their local and national representatives and demand that they pay attention to how the unfair regulation of cigars will negatively affect so many.

We have to stand up and do something, because if we don’t my lifestyle, your lifestyle, and the way of life for hundreds of thousands of people will become a memory. If we, cigar lovers and cigar lover’s supporters, do not get behind the grassroots movement to save the cigar industry, we will not be able to enjoy the fruits of the tobacco roots themselves. Please think about that and act now. Join and support the Cigar Rights of America and give them the resources to keep working and fighting on our behalf in Washington D.C and in our state capitals. Take Action with the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR). Patronize the companies that are members of the Cigar Association of America. If we don’t, very soon when we walk into a cigar shop (any of the few that will be left) there will only a few, very expensive options of cigars to enjoy because the other companies couldn’t afford to keep their doors open. If and when this occurs, not only will the FDA be to blame, but also those that sat idly by and let it happen. The time to back up our talk is now.

Sincerely your Brother of the Leaf,

Justin Harris
CRA Ambassador #0253

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