That sounds like a great reason to stay tuned. Moving on to my
next question, what do you think the future holds for the cigar industry?
I think the industry is alive and well, and growing at a comfortable rate. I've received a lot of emails from customers who have switched from cigarettes to cigars, so I'm sure they're not alone. The most threatening "scary monster" is the continual passage of state and local smoking bans, which seems to happen almost on a daily basis. They're aimed primarily at cigarette smokers, but there are some cigar smokers who quit once they can no longer enjoy a good cigar at their regular hangout.
The pending SCHIP legislation is also making the industry nervous, and depending on how the bill is eventually finalized, it could mean the end of the local neighborhood cigar store, especially if a floor tax is included.
Then there's big tobacco. They still have some lobbying power, but with a new administration coming in soon it's hard to say how the dice will roll, since most politicians on both sides of the aisle tend to side with the anti-smoking coalition. Politically, I'm more of a Libertarian, so I think the market should decide where people should be allowed to smoke, not the government. The sad truth is cigar smokers suffer for the "sins," if you will, of the cigarette smokers. The most frustrating thing is you can't even make a case for cigars, because the anti-smoking fascists just plain hate all forms of tobacco period
That said, production continues in all of the cigar making countries, with new blends coming out each year, and I believe there will always be a market for premium handmade cigars. I think the formation of private cigar clubs is one of the best solutions for getting around the smoking bans as places to enjoy cigars become more scarce.
Well, all good things, including this interview, must come to an end. Do you have any concluding remarks?
One of the best things about being a cigar smoker is the camaraderie that goes with it. I love hanging around the cigar store on the weekends and exchanging opinions with other cigar smokers. Another thing I like to do is when I see someone on the street smoking a cigar is to politely stop them and give them my card. One time I was driving home and happened to see a gentlemen behind me in a BMW smoking a cigar. We both got off at the same exit. On the exit ramp the light was red, so I jumped of my car and handed him a Famous Smoke Shop catalog. I admit that was risky, and at first he must have thought I was nuts, but instead he thanked me. Trust me, I don't do that all the time, but I enjoy promoting premium cigars, and I know if they buy from Famous they're always going to get a good deal.