Thursday, October 30, 2008

CRA Members Write Letters To Boston Mayor Menino


We have received an overwhelming number of letters to Boston Mayor Menino by CRA Members. You have united to voice your opposition to Mayor Menino's proposed smoking ban. We would like to share some of these letters with you.

Please write to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino ( His proposed smoking ban goes to vote on November 13, 2008. Time is of the essence. Please copy your letter to so that we can share your letter with your fellow cigar enthusiasts.

You can also call Boston Mayor Menino at (617) 635-4500 and let him know that you are a cigar enthusiast and that you oppose the proposed Boston Smoking Ban.

Click Here to read letters that CRA Members have sent to Mayor Menino...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Why We Fight

October 27, 2008

"...we will not go down without a fight. We will not be that minority group that disappears because people choose not to understand us. It's really just that simple. This is why we fight."

By Ryan Evans

At the end of last summer, I had the opportunity to attend the Cigar Freedom Tour down in Milwaukee. While I am a cigar nut and wouldn't have missed this for the world, a much more important aspect of the event became very apparent to me while I was there.

We heard impassioned speeches from state legislators and cigar shop owners who oppose smoking bans - but we also heard very impassioned speeches from the "legends." These are the owners of the cigar manufacturers who came up to not only meet us, but to talk about the assault on our freedoms. Many of them are immigrants who talked about their families fleeing persecution and communism so they could run their businesses and live the American dream.

But they also talked about how the American dream that they worked so hard for is being eaten away and the very things that they fled from are now being used against them once more.

I don't recall for sure, but I'm pretty sure that Ernesto Reyes jr. said that we cannot be known as the only minority group to go down without a fight, And you know what? He's right!

After the speeches, I spoke to one of the state senators who attended the event and also gave a great speech - cigar in hand - about our rights and freedom in Wisconsin and how Wisconsin is different. We discussed the event and why it was so important. The event was a cross-section of people. You could not identify them by race, color, creed, age or economic status. There were no common elements in the crowd save for one: the love of a lifestyle that is under attack. Everybody there - and I would dare to say that there were as many women as men - had a cigar in one hand, a drink in the other, and a big smile on their face as they made their way through the crowd and talked to people around them. This was truly an event that drew people who loved the lifestyle. But it also showed that there is a delicate situation here. Cigar smokers are a small group of Americans who come from all walks of life. Though small, their freedom should not be allowed to fall through the cracks.

We cannot let this happen!

History has shown that people fear, and often times hate that which they fail to understand. Care to talk to an anti-smoking advocate and ask them about the people who would attend a cigar smoking event? I would bet that they have no idea what happens there or why there was such a large draw.

They do not see why so many people from so many different backgrounds and classes would come together to enjoy one another's company. They fail to see the love of the thing - and that scares them.

So this is where we stand. We are fighting for the love of a thing - something that binds us together into a group of seemingly unrelated people who simply share the common enjoyment of a smoke. Is this really that different than other minority (or even majority) groups? Is this different from religion? From race fans? From car collectors? No, it's not.

We will not go down without a fight. We will not be that minority group that disappears because people choose not to understand us. It's really just that simple. This is why we fight.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Boston Smoking Ban


BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, October 10, 2008– Although the Boston Public Health Commission's recommendations to further local smoking bans are getting a good reception at City Hall, cigar smokers strongly protested the closure of cigar bars.

According to the Boston Globe, there are only cigar bars that would be affected, but Cigar Masters co-owner Brett Greenfield pointed out that "there aren't people who are in there who are expecting not to be around second-hand smoke."

The city's director of public health, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, says she wants to "de-normalize" smoking and "Ideally, I'd like to say by 2025 that we don't have anybody smoking."

However, the argument made by the cigar bars is receiving some interest. Mayor Tom Menino told the Globe, "I understand they've been there for a while and I want to work with the cigar bars. I cannot, during these tough economic times, prevent them from doing business."

The restrictions, which face a final vote by the commission's seven-member board on Nov. 13, also would ban smoking on outdoor patios at restaurants and other businesses and prohibit tobacco sales on college campuses and by all drug stores in the city.

Los Angeles Smoking Ban


"Things start in Los Angeles and California and spread across the nation. That's why we're here."

That's why CRA Executive Vice President Jeff Borysiewicz, owner of the Corona Cigar shops in Orlando, Florida, flew cross-country on October 16, 2008 to join a team of cigar manufacturers, store owners and supporters at a face-to-face meeting with Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge and anti-tobacco activists over two new smoking bans proposed by other Council members.

The first is a ban on smoking in outdoor dining areas of restaurants, proposed by Councilman Grieg Smith and the second is a motion by Bernard Parks to "enact a second-hand smoking law effective throughout the City which would limit public exposure to secondhand smoke in all public areas and common areas where people congregate including, but not limited to, but not limited to indoor and outdoor businesses, hotels, parks, apartment common areas, restaurants and bars, and beaches." This latter motion would essentially criminalize about 384,000 citizens of the City of Los Angeles for using a legal product: tobacco.

The Smith motion threatens the relatively few restaurants which still allow smoking outdoors, since smokers make up only 14% of the population of Los Angeles County. If the Parks motion were to become law as drafted, his ban would:

  • Eliminate smoking in all cigar shops in the City of Los Angeles
  • Eliminate smoking on the streets of Los Angeles
  • Eliminate smoking in all outdoor areas, such as the patios or lawns of hotels
  • Eliminate cigar smoking in outdoor areas of restaurants
  • End cigar events as we know them in the entire City of Los Angeles
  • Eliminate smoking in common areas of apartment buildings

We will continue to monitor this issue and update our website.