The latest from Tobacconist


A woman strings tobacco inside a Dominican curing barn. (photo by Watchao)

APRIL 2014
Vol. 25, No. 2


Electronic edge
E-cigarettes are changing the tobacco industry landscape.

Dominican cigar party
Procigar celebrates the Dominican cigar industry.

Building a community
Gaspar’s Cigar Shoppe fosters community spirit in Tampa, Fla.



PUBmemo2010Do you remember that cranky cousin or neighborhood kid who had to have it all, or else he was inconsolable? He would be playing contentedly with the Tonka dump truck, so you would go for the Tonka bulldozer to tackle a mound of dirt. Suddenly, he would jump up, grab the bulldozer from your hands and proclaim that you could not play with it because it was his! It drove me nuts when I was 8 years old. And that kind of behavior drives me crazy today.

Sadly, I am reminded of that kid every single time I read about another city, municipality or institution deciding to ban the use of e-cigarettes. We used to refer to these folks as the anti-tobacco zealots, but today they have simply become anti zealots.

When smoking bans first began, it was because these folks claimed secondhand smoke from our cigarettes, cigars and pipes put their health at risk. In addition, they complained of the “lingering stench” that our ignited tobacco left in their spaces and on their persons.

Fast-forward 20 years and e-cigarettes appeared on the scene. These non-combustible stick-like devices could deliver nicotine to the “smoker” as the individual inhaled and exhaled a cool, odorless mist. And the device could be used one puff at a time. At first, this seemed like a compromise for the cigarette smoker who was looking for a quick smoke when in adverse situations, such as inclement weather, or in areas where smoking was not allowed. Many of these e-cigarette consumers were also making use of these devices as a means of cutting back on cigarette consumption.

For a brief moment, everything seemed copacetic. Smokers could still get a quick smoke. Anti-smokers weren’t bombarded by “filthy smoke” as they entered or exited a building. And there was harmony on the playground.

Then it was like an alarm went off. Someone in the anti group realized that we smokers seemed somewhat content with this compromise. Hold the phone! This could not be. If the anti group had not managed to make the smokers completely miserable and inconsolable, then they had failed.

So, once again, that little brat on the playground decided that he had to have all the toys, and that if the other kids were not crying, then he was not having a fun time.

Suddenly, it seemed, every university, hospital, municipality and governing body was “looking into” this new “e-cigarette epidemic.” What exactly was in these products? Who was governing them? How exactly could e-cigarettes be blamed for killing more people?

The claims have been ridiculous and unfounded. Yet, from reading the headlines, it seems that more legislation has been introduced across the country this year regarding e-cigarettes than real issues such as education, poverty, violence and health.

Maybe I’ll just take my Tonka truck and my cigars and relocate to someplace like Antarctica or an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean.

 —Phil Bowling, Publisher