Posts tagged ‘icpr’

Cigar Store Owners Oppose Mass.Governor’s Proposal to Increase Tobacco Taxes

TransWorld News

IPCPR says proposed tax hike is ‘outrageous.’

Boston, Massachusetts 2/02/2010 12:37 AM GMT (TransWorldNews)

IPCPRBoston, Massachusetts February 1, 2010 – Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick submitted a $28.2 billion state budget for fiscal 2011 last week.  To partially offset the three percent increase over 2010, Patrick’s budget proposal calls for raising the current 30 percent excise tax on cigars and smoking tobacco to 110 percent and 120 percent, respectively.  The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association respectfully disagrees with this strategy.

“It’s outrageous to put the burden of budget management on the backs of cigar smokers.  They ought to be finding jobs instead of creating job-killing new taxes,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.

The association represents some 2,000 members, most of whom are small business owners of mom-and-pop neighborhood cigar stores along with premium cigar manufacturers and distributors of related merchandise.  Nearly 40 of those members reside, work and run their businesses in the state of Massachusetts.

McCalla pointed out that studies prove that higher taxes on tobacco products like premium cigars never produce the revenues they were designed to bring in.  In fact, he said, they result in lower sales which cost jobs, closed businesses, and significantly reduce the very tax revenues for which they were originally created.

“When tobacco taxes go up, especially those on discretionary products like premium cigars which are enjoyed only occasionally, consumers will find less expensive sources for their favorite cigars.  They will turn to the Internet and mail order as well as go across state borders or even resort to buying bootlegged products.  That creates a  lose-lose situation: neighborhood cigar retailers lose sales and the state loses all that tax revenue,” said McCalla.

According to McCalla, tobacco taxes are regressive and disproportionately burden lower- and middle-income earners, even among premium cigar smokers.

“Tobacco taxes also tend to be unreliable and unsustainable sources of revenue and don’t result in real budget fixes.  They hurt local businesses and the overall economy.  The unintended consequences for individual states and the American society as a whole can be avoided with application of sound fiscal policies and real budget reforms instead of bad tax policy,” McCalla said.


Premium Cigar Association Supports D.C.Smoking Ban Proposal… Almost


IPCPR Okays Underage Smoking Prevention but Nixes Smoking Bans

Washington, D.C. 1/20/2010 09:36 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)

Washington, D.C. January 20, 2010 – The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association has come out in support of proposed Washington D. C. Council legislation to reduce under-aged smoking and against the same piece of legislation that would impact smokers’ rights outside businesses.

The proposal would assess new penalties on under-aged youth for purchasing or possessing tobacco products.  At the same time, the bill allows shop owners to post no-smoking signs in front of their establishments to include 25 feet of their front door or from the sidewalk.

“As owners of premium cigar stores, we have very few people coming into our stores who are underaged and, if they try to make a purchase, they are carded without exception.  So the part of the legislation regarding underaged youth and tobacco is not a problem for us, unlike the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids which, ironically, opposes this aspect of the legislation,” said Chris McCalla, Legislative Director of the IPCPR. “It’s the other part of the legislation that bothers us – no smoking outside of buildings – even though it contains no enforcement provisions.”

McCalla pointed out that the vast majority of premium cigar and pipe smokers are courteous and mindful of people around them when they are smoking.  However, he said, legislated smoking bans of any kind are anathema to the group and its individual members.

“Anyone who says there are no safe levels of secondhand smoke, including that which is found outdoors, is totally misinformed.  In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set safe standards for secondhand smoke.  Those OSHA standards are 25,000 times higher than air quality levels found in restaurants and bars.  So, whatever wisps of smoke may occasionally waft into a building cannot possibly be unsafe, according to OSHA,” McCalla said.

Referencing those people who cite the Surgeon General’s report regarding the alleged adverse health effects of secondhand smoke, McCalla said:  “There is absolutely no evidence presented in the report that supports this claim.  These misinformed people have been brainwashed by neo-prohibitionists and tobaccophobes into believing otherwise,” he said.

“If store owners don’t want smoking in their places of business, they have the right to declare their property smoke-free.  And if these property owners don’t want people to smoke outside of their places of business, they have the right to ask people not to smoke there.  We support that.  But enacting legislation that gives the government authority over these individual property rights we do not support,” he said.

“Not only is it not justified from a medical standpoint, it is not a justified deprivation of our personal rights from a constitutional standpoint.  Next thing you know, the government will be running our nation’s auto companies, financial institutions and the entire health industry – or trying to.”

Contact: Tony Tortorici

Premium Cigar Group Concerned for Right to Smoke in Military

Predjudice in the military? This one’s for you, C.J.

Premium Cigar Group Concerned for Right to Smoke in Military

IPCPR Not Taking Any Chances
Washington, D.C. 7/17/2009 12:21 AM GMT (TransWorldNews)

Although the Department of Defense is considering phasing in a ban on tobacco use in the military over as many as 20 years, The Pentagon reassured troops this week that it won’t ban tobacco products in war zones, according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ press secretary Geoff Morrell. But the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association isn’t taking any chances.

“This comes down to personal choice and the pleasure of enjoying tobacco – especially good cigars and pipe tobacco – and the individual rights for which our military are fighting,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR. His group’s members include more than 2,000 small business owners of smoke shops and manufacturers and distributors of hand-made cigars, pipes and pipe tobacco. They represent some five percent of the tobacco industry.

“IPCPR members regularly send supplies of hand-made cigars to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to enjoy during their moments of relaxation. If anyone has earned the right to such pleasures, it’s our troops, especially those in combat,” he said.

McCalla pointed out that most people have had the image of officers smoking cigars but that cigars are enjoyed by all strata of military personnel, not unlike civilians.

Sean Smith/The Guardian – Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, smoking a pipe, and his fellow soldiers man an observation post above the base they were building for Afghan national security forces in Afghanistan this past spring.

“Smoking throughout the ranks is not restricted to one level or another, nor should it be. Whether they are Generals or privates and airmen, Admirals or seamen, they all have equal rights to enjoy a legal product,” McCalla said.

The IPCPR isn’t waiting 20 years before it begins its fight for the rights of military personnel to enjoy tobacco, he explained.

“We let the anti-tobacco forces get away with spreading a lot of misinformation about smoking and secondhand smoke over the last two decades. Much of their so-called research is highly questionable and their conclusions are particularly biased. As a result, smoking bans have spread unfairly. We’re not going to let that happen by default in the military,” he said.

McCalla emphasized that individual rights are attacked every time there is a legislated smoking ban.

“Each smoking ban chips away at our individual rights which leads to loss of other rights, whether or not we smoke cigarettes, premium cigars or use other tobacco products. It’s a right of choice and we are all affected,” he said.