Cigar makers huff and puff over smoking ban
By H. Lee Murphy
Aug. 18, 2008
Daniel Melko, business manager for a Mercedes-Benz dealership on Chicago’s Near North Side, drank cocktails and smoked cigars at Gibsons and Tavern on Rush before the statewide ban on indoor smoking. Now he smokes at his Carol Stream home or on friends’ backyard patios.
“I used to go to Gibsons twice a week, but haven’t been there since Jan. 1,” says Mr. Melko, 45.
Seeking to challenge such legislative bans, Cigar Rights of America, a group of cigar makers and retailers, has organized a nationwide tour, with stops planned Thursday at Up Down Cigar on North Wells in Chicago and 8 to 8 Cigar in west suburban Villa Park. Top cigar makers including Carlito Fuente of the Dominican Republic, Charlie Torano of Honduras and Jorge Padron of Nicaragua will appear.
Nearly 500 supporters, paying $40 apiece, are expected to turn out at each venue. Rick Schweig, 53, a financial planner living in the West Loop, is one: Once a regular at Sullivan’s, Carmichael’s, the Peninsula and the Ritz-Carlton, he smokes now at a private cigar lounge in the Loop shop Iwan Ries & Co.
“Cigar smoking is a social activity, like tasting wine: It’s not the same without bars and nightclubs,” a glum Mr. Schweig says.
Cigar Rights of America is raising money to lobby to roll back bans — or at least exempt cigars. “Cigar makers, and retailers, are fighting for their lives,” says Diana Silvius, owner of Up Down.
“We won’t try to stop the cigar group from speaking their mind,” says Joel Africk, president and CEO of the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago. “But we will work very hard to ensure that our workplaces, including restaurants, stay free from second-hand smoke.”
Chicago Big Smoke Cancelled
January 22, 2008
By Michael Moretti
Due to a stringent state ban that went into effect on January 1, the annual revelry in smoke and spirits will not be able to return for its 14th year in the Windy City. Big Smokes continued in Las Vegas and New York City following similar legislation, but the Smoke Free Illinois Act did not allow for an exception.
The enthusiasm for the Chicago Big Smoke is always something we looked forward to,” said Lynn Rittenband, senior vice president for events marketing for M. Shanken Communications, Inc., publisher of Cigar Aficionado. “We tried every plan we could think of, but there is no wiggle room, no exceptions or exemptions.”
The event had been booked at the Hyatt Regency at O’Hare International Airport, the event’s longtime host, since May. According to the hotel, local authorities told Hyatt representatives last spring that the 2008 Big Smoke event could go as scheduled. However, after reviewing a detailed copy of the law last week, the establishment’s lawyers concluded that there was no way to allow any smoking on the premises.
Tickets for the Big Smoke Chicago went on sale in mid-January. Those who booked a ticket already were sent a letter from Cigar Aficionado notifying them of the event’s cancellation. As a precautionary measure, no credit cards had been charged.
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 10:50 PM
Subject: Check out Chicago Big Smoke Cancelled – OUTRAGEOUS!
Because of some liberal and anti-freedom city and statewide officials in Illinois, people that enjoy the breath of freedom and smoke cannot endure it when they were ready to attend “The Big Smoke” in Chicago because of a smoking ban in the State of Illinois.
What Let Us Smoke in Peace Committee and its supporters are going to do is contact the city and statewide officials in Chicago and Illinois and DEMAND them to permit people to enjoy their tobacco brand products at the “Big Smoke” Event.? You and I are going to demand they reinstate this event with no smoking bans inside the banquet room!
Cigar Aficionado | Web Features | Chicago Big Smoke Cancelled
You and I and if you have any family, friends, and acquaintances that are in the Chicago area or in Illinois are to call the Mayor of Chicago Richard M. Daley (312)-744-3300 and there is a link below to locate your Chicago’s city council members to allow smoking back in “The Windy City”:
To find your Illinois State Legislator Click on the Link: http://www.ilga.gov/
Also Contact your Esteemed Governor of the State of Illinois to present legislation to abolish the new statewide smoking ban that infringes on the freedoms and liberties of all the people of Illinois.
Office of Governor Ron Blagojevich
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: 217-782-0244 or 312-814-2121
Also we would to hear from you, the recipients, supporters and members of this organization that if there is any injustice that if someone are not allowed to smoke a tobacco brand product inside or outside a public or private establishment, then we at Let us Smoke in Peace Committee would like to hear about it, investigate it, and expose the anti-tobacco and anti-freedom scoundrels.
Thank you very much for your support for a smoker-friendly America!
Jeremy J. Hofer the I
Let us Smoke in Peace Committee
Let us Smoke in Peace Committee
America was born FREE and also smoker-friendly!