State Legislatures are Convening –
A New Time for Cigar Political Action

By: J. Glynn Loope, CRA Executive Director

Okay, Twisted Sister was a little after my rock & roll days, but I love the song, “We're Not Gonna to Take It.” It should become our call to arms to protect cigars from onerous taxation and regulation. It seems that courts and legislatures are both at work on issues of significance to the cigar enthusiasts of America , and we need you to assist in that mission.

As expected, with dozens of state capitols now in session, a near record amount of legislation has been filed of significance to those of us that simply want to enjoy a great cigar. Nearly fifty legislative acts in twenty-four states demand attention, on either the tax or regulatory front.

Cigar Rights of America is working with associated organizations and coalitions for the best possible outcome for the major issues of the day, which include a new slate of proposed statewide smoking bans, record tax increases, and regulatory actions that affect the cigar manufacturer, retailer, and consumer, alike.

Another Activist Judge That Doesn't Get It

This week, Nebraska 's Lancaster County District Judge Jodi Nelson said she does not believe it's constitutional for cigar bars, tobacco shops and hotels to have exemptions to the state smoking ban. The case was based upon a law suit filed by a long-time opponent of the state smoking ban, Big John's Billiards in Omaha .

On February 16, 2009, CRA first supported the exemption legislation in Nebraska, commending state Senator Scott Lautenbaugh, who introduced the bill. Senator Lautenbaugh said at the time that he doesn't smoke, but businesses should not be penalized. The legislation passed, and on April 23, 2009, CRA praised not only Senator Lautenbaugh and those that voted for the exemptions, but CRA commended then Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman for signing the legislation.

Today, CRA contacted Senator Lautenbaugh's office, discussed the appeal, noted our support for his position, praised his efforts during this litigation, and that we will continue to monitor this situation. If a judge can try to rule on exemptions to smoking bans in Nebraska , it can happen in your state too.

Private Property – A novel concept is some parts of America
Send a message – Stop Trampling on Property Rights



Representative Anna Blodgett, D-Augusta ( wants to ban smoking in one of the last refuges for freedom in Maine . Her legislation would ban smoking in private clubs. That's right “private” clubs.


Representative Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin ( has introduced H.B. 5286 in the Connecticut legislature that would also ban smoking in private clubs. He said “to insure the public is protected.” Hmmm...

Age to Possess Tobacco – Serve your country and vote at 18 – Close, but no Cigar

Also in Maine, legislation has been filed by Representative Les Fossel, R-Alna ( to raise the legal age to “possess” tobacco, from 18 to 21.

Commonwealth of Kentucky

Kentucky State Representative Susan Westrom, D-Lexington ( has filed HB 193, along with eight other patrons that calls for a statewide smoking ban in Kentucky , with no exemptions of any type. Whereas these matters have a way of taking on a life of their own, and all should be taken seriously, we believe that our Kentucky membership should contact their Representative and Senator, and tell them to defeat HB 193. Here's how to contact them -

State of Oklahoma

A different type of threat looms for cigar enthusiasts in Oklahoma . House Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee ( is sponsoring legislation, supported by the Tobacco Free Coalition and the Oklahoma Municipal League that would allow for local control over tobacco policy and restrictions. This would hence allow localities across Oklahoma to adopt more stringent controls than exist at the state level. It must be defeated.

Send a message to your member:

Oklahoma House of Represenatives
Oklahoma State Legislature

News article:

Advocates meet to support local control of tobacco legislation

Similar legislation as this in Oklahoma was just defeated in Wyoming.

CRA is also addressing smoking ban and tax legislation is the following states: Mississippi, Indiana, South Carolina, Texas, Florida, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, North Carolina, Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia, California, New Mexico, New Hampshire, and Oregon. Regional notices on specific legislation will be distributed and posted as these issues develop further. 

Please Take A Moment To Sign The CRA Petitions
State Release Date Subject
New Mexico 2011-1-26 For New Mexico Residents Only.
Proposal For A 114% Increase In Taxes On Cigars
(PetitionID: NewMexico001)
Minnesota 2011-1-26 For Minnesota Residents Only.
Proposal to ALLOW smoking in public places
(PetitionID: Minnesota001)
Florida 2011-1-25 For Florida Residents Only.
Proposal To Allow Local Government To Legislate Smoking
(PetitionID: Florida001)
North Carolina 2011-1-19 For North Carolina Residents Only.
Proposal To Ban Smoking in Public Parks
(PetitionID: RaleighNC001)
Minnesota 2010-11-04 Proposal To Ban Tobacco Sampling At Retail Tobacco Shops
(PetitionID: MinneapolisMN001)
New York 2010-10-07 Expanded Smoking Ban Restrictions in New York City
(PetitionID: NewYorkCityNY001)

Support Your Local Great American Cigar Shops™

CRA Needs Your Help!

In order to be successful in our fight to enjoy cigars without the threat of smoking bans and high taxation, CRA needs your help. Please consider partnering with CRA through two important methods:

There is strength in numbers! The more members CRA has, the greater voice we have at all levels of legislature. Please help CRA by asking your fellow cigar enthusiasts to join CRA today! Membership starts as low as $35/year.

Our fight around the country is very expensive. We would like to ask all CRA members and cigar enthusiasts to consider making a donation to CRA in any amount you choose.