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Cigar Manufacturers and Retailers Will Stop Giving to All Charities – David Garofalo Editorial

Cigar Smokers come in all shapes and sizes, big and small, fat and thin, rich and poor, and old and young but always over 18. Walk into any cigar shop across America and you’ll meet people from all walks of life. From Laborers to Lawyers, Doctors to Dump Truck Drivers, Retirees to the Handicapped and everything in between.

In the cigar shop, the cigar is the great equalizer and in a cigar shop everyone is the same, we are all just cigar smokers. Cigar smokers are a small and unique minority who enjoy everything that goes along with the cigar itself including the ritual and camaraderie that happens between what some call “brothers of the leaf.” Man or woman, they are brothers of a tiny underground group that inconvenience nobody, a group of people who stay to themselves or else are persecuted by the general public who don’t care for their rites and rituals.

I see a common trait between cigar smokers, but to mention a characteristic to a specific group some might call it prejudice but I have a prejudice in favor of cigar smokers for their generosity. It’s lopsided and unique, in a very wonderful way, cigar smokers are givers, it’s simply part of the culture. From the ritual of giving cigars after the birth of your baby to cigars at the golf course, at parties or at events like weddings and ceremonies. I’ve witnessed strangers in cigar shops handing out or what has been known as “gifting” another cigar smoker a cigar virtually every day for the simplest of reasons. Cigars at charity events as gifts are a very common occurrence and cigars to the military is not only the requested item it is the most donated.

Cigars for Warriors is just one organization who collects and donates cigars for our troops. Last year alone, over 250,000 cigars were donated which accounted for 10% of all cigars sold in America, and that was just to this one organization. In my own shop we collected, matched and donated 21,000 cigars for the troops and we weren’t alone. Sixty percent of all those cigars were donated free of charge by cigar Manufacturers and Retailers but that is about to change completely. Cigar Manufacturers and Cigar Retailers will stop donations to all charities.

It’s certainly not because cigar retailers and manufactures have suddenly tightened up their donation budgets or care less than they always did. It’s not because they are not the most unique, generous group I know. No, it’s not any of that. It’s because the Food and Drug Administration has outlawed it.

As of August 8, 2016 it will be a crime, punishable by heavy fines and even imprisonment for a cigar retailer or manufacturer to donate a cigar to any and all charities for any reason. A legal, celebratory product that had been a part of the American culture for over 500 years. A product that is requested most by our men and women in service in foreign lands to protect our rights and freedoms. A product that has shown up on auction tables to drive up financial donations.

Cigar Aficionado Magazine to name just one publication has raised over twenty million dollars over the years for research of prostate cancer, deriving the majority of the money from donations of cigars directly from the cigar manufacturers themselves. Local charity events are happening every day across America and you’ll find it difficult to find even one that doesn’t have a box or two of cigars donated, but that is all about to stop, thanks to the FDA.

Where’s the outrage?

Let your voice be heard, sign the White House Petition started by Cigar Rights of America here: https://wh.gov/ioufr. After you do that, head over to the CRA website and use their automated system to send a message to each of your representatives at http://www.capwiz.com/cigarrights/issues/alert/?alertid=62606471&type=CO