CRA executive director Glynn Loope told me that the FDA is ”going beyond the Congressional intent of tobacco regulation. Ten- to seventeen-year-olds aren’t buying $10 cigars.”
He also said his organization has generated over 30,000 petitions to The White House. But they “have not received a response on the issue of regulating cigars” from the Obama administration.
Hence the need for an act of Congress, Loope said. “H.R. 1639 and S. 1461 were initiated to protect this passion for a cigar from the heavy hand of the federal bureaucracy.”
The legislative effort seems to be working so far: The Senate bill has 12 co-sponsors, including four Democrats. The House bill has a whopping 218, including 48 Democrats. That’s more than half the House of Representatives, a sign that the bill is likely to pass if it gets to the House floor.
Posey spokesman George Cecala was clearly happy when I spoke with him last week, calling 218 a “magic number.” (Note: CRA now says the head-count is actually 219.)
“We’ve now clearly shown that a majority of house members support the bill,” he said. “And now we can go to the committee and say we should have a markup on this bill.”
In the Senate, though, it’s a bit of an uphill climb. The bill sits in the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, chaired by Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin.
“[T]he bill is before the Health Committee,” Nelson spokesman Ben Weiss explained. ”It will move whenever Chairman Harkin wants to move it. I think that Harkin’s office can help you with your questions.”
Translation: Without Harkin’s say-so, the Senate bill won’t get a committee vote. And without the committee’s approval, it will never get a vote before the full Senate.
I emailed Harkin’s office several times about the bill’s status, but no one responded.
So how does the House Resolution cigar smoke? For a $4 medium-bodied cigar, it’s pretty good. Nothing terribly memorable flavor-wise, but definitely a higher-quality smoke than what you might otherwise buy as a novelty to pass out to friends.
Corona was kind enough to send me a box of maduros in the “Whip” size – 6-1/2″ x 52 — and I gave away practically the whole box. But I did smoke a few first.
Corona also reports that House Resolution cigars are made in JC Newman’s Nicaraguan factory from Nicaraguan filler that has sprung from Cuban seeds. The chocolatey wrapper is sungrown San Andres maduro.
The nice thing about sungrown maduro is the sweetness. Many cigar smokers mistake “maduro” for an indication of strength, but in reality it’s more predictive of sweetness on the very tip of the tongue. The House Resolution fits that mold perfectly. (RELATED:Cigar Hunter : Burning the midnight maduro)
The smoke is copious, the seams nearly invisible, the build firm. Even considering the length of the “Whip,” the draw was a little loose for me and the burn a bit quick. But again, these aren’t $20 cigars. The pleasure comes from knowing you’re investing in an effort to keep cigar retailers open and Big Government off your back.