CRA: Cigars were front and center from Tampa to Charlotte

For the first time, a unified message to Democrats and Republicans alike came through – leave premium cigars alone. There are other national priorities. Honest. And they listened.

First, the effort began in Tampa at the Republican National Convention. Of all the cities that the RNC could have selected, the sun, moon and stars aligned for the selection of “ Cigar City .” The J.C. Newman cigar factory was opened, staff and machines were rolling out cigars, and the message was being trumpeted, “Leave cigars alone.”

Guests learned first hand what cigars mean to the culture, history and economy or not just Tampa, but the nation. Eric and Bobby Newman opened their factory as never before, and were joined by industry leaders from A. Fuente Cigar Company, Rocky Patel Premium Cigars, Davidoff, Corona Cigar Company, as well as the surrounding retail tobacconists of Tampa , as all helped tell the story of cigars. Our allies at General Cigar were maintaining the cigar tent in “ Liberty Plaza ,” highlighting further the role of cigars in politics and times of great camaraderie.

Then, it was off the Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention. Existing and prospective co-sponsors heard from area retail tobacconists such as IPCPR Legislative Committee Chairman Craig Cass and from manufacturers such as Rocky Patel as to why cigars should be protected from burdensome regulations that could decimate this historic and culturally grounded industry.

They told the story of how cigars are only sold and enjoyed by discerning adults, as a passion of moderation, and celebration. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate heard of how cigars are different, and hence should not be subjected to regulations that could cripple community cigar shops from Tampa to Charlotte , from Los Angeles to Boston and points in between.

It was moments like this that we felt and knew why CRA was created. We’ve all learned first hand, when the story is told, more likely than not, we get a positive response. That’s why a working majority of Congress is on our side. It has been because your voice is being heard through the nearly 200,000 petitions to Congress and over 30,000 to The White House.

But now it is time to take it a step further. In the coming weeks, we will be issuing a CRA Voter Guide, so that you know who has stood strong for your passion of cigars. You need to reward them with you support, resources, and most of all – your vote.

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Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor at

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

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