One of the most awe inspiring historical events is the last stand of the Spartans at Thermopylae. At that narrow pass, 300 Spartans (plus some other lesser known Greeks) held off the combined might of the Persians, which purportedly numbered in the millions, long enough to let the Greeks regroup and launch a proper counterattack. Due to the bravery of those brave few, democracy survived Xerxes onslaught.
Fast forward to today and we have a story that is kind of, sort of similar to that famous last stand. Every day you smoke cigars. These cigars are carefully made by skillful artisans in far flung lands that you have probably never visited. In fact, according to Jose Blanco from La Aurora, which happens to be the factory I recently visited, over 200 people are involved in cigar making process. Honestly, when you consider the gigantic operation it takes to take a cigar from seed to your humidor it is mind boggling.
And let me be clear, when I say that over 200 people are involved in the cigar making process I mean over 200 people come in direct contact with the tobacco that comprises your premium cigars. That is 200 lives that are improved by the mere fact of taking part in making your cigars.
Like the fabled Sword of Damocles, cigar taxes and bans threaten these people’s livelihoods. With each new assault on cigars, more and more of these humble craftsman lose their jobs. We are reaching a tipping point where, due to the religious fervor with which politicians attack our noble pastime, these people are losing their jobs.
Cigar factories have almost completely disappeared from America. I fear that with the zealous advance of cigar taxes and bans both here in America and internationally that there will come a time when many of the people who are now employed in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and many other countries in Latin America will eventually lose their jobs.
It does not take an immense imaginative leap to claim that with the loss of relatively lucrative jobs working in a cigar factory that these people will have to find well-paying jobs elsewhere, like in America. Now, I’m not one of those “open borders” people but I can definitely appreciate the fact, and it is a fact, that desperate people will risk a lot to improve their lot in life.
So, if they lose their cigar factory jobs in the Dominican Republic, they are likely to move to someplace where the job prospects are better; like America. Now, I know that you, my fellow Brothers of the Leaf, don’t need any more convincing that cigar taxes and bans are stupid. But others might need a little nudge to oppose these draconian measures against cigars.
Here’s the point. The next time you have one of those nattering nay-bobs pouncing on you for smoking a premium cigar you need to come at them with a different tact. Instead of using the all-too legitimate standby of cigar smoking being a right you need to come at them with the negative economic impact that cigar taxes and bans will thrust upon the world.
Tell them that each time the government suppresses cigar smoking, jobs will be lost abroad and domestically. Tell them that whenever another city bans cigar smoking in a bar they are eliminating jobs domestically and internationally. And that those lost jobs in Honduras will lead to those displaced workers plying their trade in America. Do those proponent of cigar bans really want more people flooding across the border? Didn’t think so.
It is actually quite simple. Whenever you encounter someone who is all for another cigar tax or ban just tell them of the economic repercussions of their stance. The whole “rights” argument just doesn’t penetrate their bigoted minds. You have to hit closer to home. Make it personal for them.