Re: RTDA Impressions
- From: Tex <TexasFlyFish@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 08 Aug 2007 17:27:55 -0700
On Aug 8, 11:54 am, Frank Seltzer <fra...@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
First of all the show attendance was waaay down. We heard only around
500 attendees. However most who were there were enthusiastic. The bluk
of the talk was about SCHIP....At the welcome breakfast that was the
This is the LAST RTDA convention. Next year it will be IPCPR
(International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers). Just rolls off the
tongue. I guess IP BLOOD was taken. I am wondering if the new logo will
be someone preforming CPR on a cigar smoker?
The manufacturers were not in their booths very much as meetings were
constantly going on. There was a move to try to seperate themselves from
the machine made cigars...several manf thought that was the best way to
carve out an exemption or the cigars. Lew Rothman told them in a meeting
Sunday night that the split was a really dumb idea. Monday, after more
meetings with the manfs, apparently Lew and Christian Eiroa among
Some of the makers let their egos get in the way. I was not privy to the
meetings and am getting this second hand from several who did attend.
But I can say in talking with Christian, his point was it would be very
dumb to forego Swisher and Swedish Match's experience, cash and lawyers
for the sake of trying to carve out the premium exemption.
Anyway, RTDA has hired a PR firm to help ( not sure how well this will
work since it is an Atlanta based frim which did work for Coke...not
necessarily the same thing. I would have preferred a DC firm with crisis
communication expperience.) Also spoke to the RTDA --sorry IPCPR---
lobbyst. He agrees the time now is for EVERYONE to get involved from the
grass roots up. Start with City Council people. Get political. Make
donations to candidates who support our rights. Work your way up to
Senators (which means go through county officials state reps and
senators before Congress.)
That is the long term approach. Retailers will be asking for your
emails. There was some discussion of needing an NRA for smokers. I think
the idea is good, however we need to expand it to personal
liberties....Smoker, Trans Fat, you name it ...
There were some organizational meetings at the state level. For example
here in Texas about 40 retailers and manf reps (all with the exceptions
of Altadis, General, Rocky Patel, CAO, La Flor Dominicana) met to set up
a state committee to help lobby against the smoking bans and to work on
the current Tax problem which will not go away.
Bottom line. You cannot sit on the sidelines anymore. You will either be
part of the problem or the solution.
500? I hope you aren't serious?
As far as individual retailers, yes, the number was probably below
1000. But as far as individuals, there were several thousand. It was
busiest Monday, for whatever reason.
The IPCPR is a good idea and an unfortunately necessary name. Yeah, I
like it. But I only like the full thing... International Premium Cigar
and Pipe Retailers.... it sounds good. The legislative effort led by
Patricia of The Briar Shoppe is fantastic, and she's a smart and
capable leader - perfect to lead such an effort. It is also exciting
that several other state organizations have developed. The effort must
be both state and federal. As long as we can get the federal
government to go essentially "hands off" on the cigars and pipe
tobaccos, our only job is the state one. And that is enough to handle!
There was a "bright spot" in the coverage from the George R. Brown,
however. The other day's Houston Chronicle front page business section
article about the RTDA and accompanying article about bar criticism of
the local ban was also extremely encouraging, as both were very fair
and seemingly on our side.
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- From: Frank Seltzer
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