Posts tagged ‘International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association’

Smokers Protest New Tax Proposal

Coosa Valley News

Tony Potts

The Georgia House of Representatives is moving to increase state excise taxes on cigarettes by 270 percent and pipe and smokeless tobacco by 150 percent that the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association and Americans for Tax Reform are having none of. The group of close to 100 people held a protest on Tuesday on the state Capitol`s steps.

House Bill 39 aims to increase state cigarette taxes from the current $.37 per pack to $1.37 per pack and state taxes on loose and smokeless tobacco would go up 150 percent from 10 percent of wholesale value to 25 percent of wholesale cost.

In a letter to Georgia House and Senate Taxpayer Protection Pledge signers, the ATR said, `A vote in favor of this tax hike would be a violation of the, commitment you made to your constituents to oppose any and all tax increases.`

The letter also pointed out that Georgia’s nearby states have an average cigarette tax of $.36 per pack. If the tax hike is passed, Georgians will have to pay $1.37 in state taxes per pack, nearly quadruple that of their neighbors. In a similar situation, Maryland raised the state’s tobacco tax last year to cover a projected budget shortfall. However, the problem was only made worse when tobacco sales fell 25% after consumers drove to nearby states with lower tax rates to make their tobacco purchases.

Chris McCalla, legislative director of the Columbus, Georgia-based IPCPR, agreed with the ATR’s position that, “It is critical to revitalize Georgia’s economy with tax cuts, not tax increases. We must lift the burden of larger government from the backs of hardworking taxpayers and consumers instead of further depressing economic activity.”

Although premium cigars are not included in the proposed tax hike, McCalla said the IPCPR’s position was preemptive and aimed at attempting to protect the long-range business interests of its members and the rights of Georgia consumers.

McCalla recounted a story told to him by Brett Chastain, owner of the Sweetbriar Smoke Shop in Columbus, Georgia. Chastain’s location serves the Ft. Benning area and many of his pipe tobacco customers are retired military on fixed income.

“These people, our heroes, are very sensitive to tax increases. The proposed state tax increase on pipe tobacco would further exacerbate the pricing issues brought on earlier this year by a 158 percent increase in the federal tax on pipe tobacco. It went from $1.10 per pound to $2.83 per pound. And Georgia wants to add to that an increase of 150 percent in state taxes? What are they thinking?” McCalla asked.

IPCPR Tobacconists, Pipe Smokers Celebrate Int’l Pipe Smoking Day

TransWorld News

Brothers and Sisters of the Briar Gather Sat., Feb. 20

St. Louis, Missouri 2/15/2010 10:58 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)

St. Louis, Missouri. February 15, 2010 – St. Louis, Missouri will be a center of the pipe smoking world at noon this Saturday, February 20.

That’s when International Pipe Smoking Day will be celebrated at the 22nd Annual Gateway Area Pipe Show at the Heart of St. Charles Banquet Center.  Local briar lovers will be raising their pipes in a salute to their pipe smoking brothers and sisters around the world as a show of friendship and unity that reaches across all borders, according to the Bob Callaway, spokesperson for the St. Louis Pipe Club, sponsor of the show.

International Pipe Smoking Day was designated by a group on Smokers Forums three years ago as a day on which pipe smokers everywhere could tell their story and educate others about the rich history and traditions of the noble art of pipe smoking. The group dedicated it to the worldwide community of pipe smokers that is bound together by a shared love of pipes, pipe collecting and the social aspect of pipe smoking. They respect informed choice and the responsible adult use of smoking tobacco and envision a world where governments act in good faith and integrity.

“International Pipe Smoking Day provides an opportunity for briar lovers everywhere to stand up and demonstrate with pride that we are still enjoying our pipes despite all the restrictions and increased tobacco taxes that the anti-tobacco forces have imposed on us. They just don’t understand the significant benefits that pipe smoking offers,” Callaway said.

International Pipe Smoking Day is supported by the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association of some 2,000 retailers of premium tobacco products; the International Committee of Pipe Clubs, which has members in more than 25 countries; and by the United Pipe Clubs of America, with its more than 20 member clubs in the United States.  Many other pipe clubs in this country and abroad also will hold special events on or around February 20 to mark the day.

“Our motto is ‘Relax with Your Pipe’ and that’s the idea we want to get across,” says Vernon Vig, President of UPCA which, according to the organization’s website was founded in 2002 to promote and protect the interests of the American pipe smoking community.

“Pipe smokers are mature, considerate adults. We don’t want to bother anyone, and all we ask in return is a little common sense and consideration on the part of others,” said Vig.

International Pipe-Smoking Day


For more information, go to;, and

Contact:            Bob Callaway, 636-946-8555

Vernon Vig. 646-823-4543

Tony Tortorici, 678/493-0313

Mood of America Says No New Taxes in Utah, Reminds Premium Cigar Group


Voters Prefer Delivering on Campaign Promises
Salt Lake City, Utah 1/29/2010 02:27 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)

IPCPRAs Utah legislators contemplate raising taxes on tobacco products, the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association is reminding them that voters across the board are against new taxes and in favor of delivering on campaign promises.

Some Utah state representatives and senators are talking about new tobacco taxes even as Governor Gary Herbert has proclaimed that there shall be no new taxes of any kind.  The IPCPR, a non-profit association of some 2,000 retail tobacconists and manufacturers and distributors of premium cigars, pipes, tobaccos and related accessories, called this the kind of “disconnect” that is leading to voter revolts across America.

“Utah voters are among the most savvy in the country,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.  “They know when they are being led down a primrose path intentionally or otherwise by their legislators who say one thing and do another.  And, when legislators do what the voters don’t want done, new, more responsive legislators are elected by those voters.”

McCalla said it was important for Utah legislators to realize that the reasons they have been given by anti-tobacco groups to call for across the board tax increases on all tobacco products reflect the misguided conclusions of poorly informed special interest groups.

“First, the governor said ‘no new taxes of any kind’.  Increased tobacco taxes would bring a burden of higher costs and broken promises to nearly 10 percent of the Utah adult population that smokes, most of whom will simply buy their tobacco online or out of state to avoid paying these new taxes.

“Second, not all tobacco products are the same.  Premium cigars and pipes are different from, say, cigarettes in that they are discretionary products enjoyed only occasionally like a fine wine or single-malt scotch.  As a result, they should be taxed differently.”

McCalla suggested that the current 35 percent excise tax on tobacco products other than cigarettes could be replaced by a 50 cent tax cap per hand-made cigar. He said such a tax  is generating positive results in five other states, including Oregon, Washington, Rhode Island, Iowa and Wisconsin.

“Third, human behavior can’t be legislated.  Some lawmakers say increased tobacco taxes will prevent youths from smoking. That would be throwing the baby out with the bath water.  Our IPCPR retail members are adamantly diligent about selling their products only to age-appropriate adult customers.  For other retailers, there are plenty of laws on the books that, enforced properly, will accomplish that same objective. Besides, those neo-prohibitionists who make unsubstantiated claims of youth smoking are basing their estimates on overly vivid imaginations.”

McCalla urged Utah legislators to drop their consideration of “job-killing higher tobacco taxes that will actually result in lower tax revenues because people will find ways to avoid paying those new taxes.”


Proposed Washington Tobacco Tax Increases Cause Committees to Clash


The joint hearing was comprised of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee headed by Rep. Cody and the House Finance Committee chaired by Rep. Hunter. Hunter is seeking ways to offset an anticipated $2.6 billion state budget shortfall while Cody’s stated goal is to “force people to quit smoking.” “Those objectives are counter-productive… – neither happens,” said Joe Arundel, owner of Rain City Cigar Store in Seattle, and member of the Board of Directors of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR).

Olympia, WA (PRWEB) January 17, 2010 — Two Washington state legislative committees were at odds with each other at Thursday’s joint hearing regarding HB2493 aimed at increasing taxes on tobacco products.

The joint hearing was comprised of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee headed by Rep. Eileen Cody of Seattle and the House Finance Committee chaired by Rep. Ross Hunter of Medina. Hunter is seeking ways to offset an anticipated $2.6 billion state budget shortfall while Cody’s stated goal is to “force people to quit smoking.”

Rain City Cigar Store

Rain City Cigar Store

“Those objectives are counter-productive when it comes to increasing taxes on tobacco products – neither happens,” said Joe Arundel, owner of Rain City Cigar Store in Seattle, who testified at yesterday’s meeting.

“In fact, increased tobacco taxes cause many smokers to find ways around the higher taxes by engaging in illegal activities such as buying bootlegged products or by making their tobacco purchases in neighboring states where taxes are lower, or by purchasing tobacco products by mail-order or over the Internet. The result is the same: no tax revenues for the state of Washington and a loss of jobs and businesses within the state,” Arundel said.

Arundel is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association. The IPCPR is a non-profit organization comprised of some 2,000 primarily small, mom-and-pop businesses that retail, manufacture or distribute premium cigars, pipes, tobacco and related accoutrements.

“People who have never enjoyed premium, hand-made cigars or pipes find it difficult to understand how different they are from cigarettes. Premium cigars and pipes make ordinary moments special and special moments extraordinary. They are indulged in relatively infrequently and are enjoyed for their social value as well as for their taste. That’s the way it’s been for centuries,” said Arundel.

Representing the Cigar Association of Washington was Dale Taylor who reminded the committees that tax reductions and reasonable tax caps on premium cigars and other tobacco products actually generate revenue increases for state treasuries whereas increased taxes cause those revenues to decline precipitously.

Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR, summarized what he called the principal reasons tobacco taxes should not be raised.

“They are regressive and disproportionately burdensome on lower- and middle-income people. They are an unreliable and unsustainable source of revenue. They are a discriminatory tax on a minority of the population. They hurt local businesses and the overall economy, and they encourage cross-border, black market, and Internet purchases,” McCalla said. “And everyone knows that human nature cannot be legislatively controlled,” he added.

Tony Tortoric

Cigar Store Owners Say “No” to Parkinson’s Tax Proposals

Posted: 8:38 PM Jan 14, 2010

A member of a group representing small-store tobacco sellers, says legislated smoking bans are based on misinformation about secondhand smoke.

Reporter: From 13 News

TOPEKA — Governor Mark Parkinson’s efforts to increase taxes primarily on lower- and middle-class Kansans should be thwarted, according to the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.

Parkinson has requested that the state legislature increase taxes on groceries, clothing, tobacco and other consumer goods to help offset the state’s gaping budget shortfall projected to be some $400 million in the fiscal year beginning July, 2010.

“In addition to a substantial increase in tobacco taxes, the governor has asked for a comprehensive statewide smoking ban. So, on one hand he wants people to smoke in order to fund government projects and, on the other hand, he wants people to stop smoking. Neither position makes any sense,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.

The IPCPR is a non-profit organization comprised of some 2,000 largely mom-and-pop small businesses engaged in the manufacturing, distributing and retailing of premium cigars, pipes, tobacco and related accoutrements sold in neighborhood cigar stores.

McCalla said tobacco taxes disproportionately burden lower- and middle-income people, that such taxes are an unreliable and unsustainable source of revenue and that, as tobacco taxes increase, sales of tobacco decline. Couple the increased taxes with a smoking ban and it would only ensure higher unemployment and increased business failures, he added.

“That puts people out of jobs, results in ruined businesses, and prevents state programs from being funded. On top of higher taxes, he wants a statewide smoking ban which would only hasten the demise of that revenue stream,” he said. “Besides, tobacco taxes are a discriminatory tax on a minority of the population – the 20 percent of adults who smoke.”

According to published reports cited by McCalla, 20 percent of people who continue to smoke despite tax increases find ways around paying the higher taxes.

“They use black market, cross-border and Internet purchasing which hurt local businesses and prevent the state from collecting any taxes whatsoever. They go to neighboring states where tobacco taxes and prices are lower. They fall victim to crimes of buying bootlegged tobacco products,” McCalla said. “In these ways, non-smokers as well as smokers suffer from the increased taxes.”

“Some people say there are no safe levels of secondhand smoke. Not so. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration – OSHA – has established safe levels of secondhand smoke and those safe levels are 25,000 times higher than are found in restaurants and bars,” he said.