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Giuliani Speaks To Cigar Industry

Rudolph W. Giuliani addresses the crowd at the IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas.
Photo/Orrie Gaines Photography
Rudolph W. Giuliani addresses the crowd at the IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and a stalwart defender of cigar rights, gave the opening speech at the annual International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers trade show on July 11. Giuliani, an avid cigar smoker who has appeared on the cover of Cigar Aficionado magazine, told the audience of cigar shop owners and cigar industry executives about how to deal with the onerous burden of FDA regulations they are facing, and his insights on the Trump Administration's views on the subject.

"American business is more concerned about regulations than taxes," said Giuliani. "They don't like taxes—taxes are too high—but the thing that's really killing American business is regulations."

Giuliani urged the audience to be optimistic and patient, and gave hope about the possibility of relief.

"I wrote a book on leadership. Two of the main things of it are optimism, and being able to react to changes that come about. First of all, you should be optimistic. And I'm going to tell you why," said Giuliani. "This administration in Washington, which I think I know couldn't have a more anti-regulatory group than this group."

President Trump, he said, "has a very clear understanding that not only are businesses like yours, big and small, suffering from regulation, American business is suffering."

Giuliani stressed that change would not be immediate. "The only advice I would have is it will take a little while."

"We invited America's Mayor for two reasons," said Mark Pursell, CEO of the IPCPR. "One being his career of public leadership, including the cleaning up of New York City and the post 9/11 strength he gave to the entire country. Secondly, we know he loves premium cigars and is on our side of the issues of the day. He gave us hope in the new Administration's policies of limited governmental regulation and encouraged us to work with President Trump's appointees to right what is wrong with the FDA rule that will, if left unchecked, do significant damage to a small business industry without corresponding benefits to public health."

The audience puffed on cigars as Giuliani spoke, and his words were well received. "I think he gave the right message at the right time," said Craig Cass, owner of the Tinder Box of the Carolinas chain of cigar stores. "We were so excited by his energy and his positive vibe. We had so many members come to us and say ‘one of the best IPCPR speakers of all time.' He truly cares about this category, and small business. We felt like the energy leaving that breakfast and hitting the show floor was epic." 

After his speech, Giuliani roamed the floor of the show, which had opened earlier that morning. He took a break at the Rocky Patel booth, among others, and lit up with the cigarmaker. "He was very complimentary about the fight with FDA," said Patel.

Joe TheKing Pembroke Pines, FL, USA, July 15, 2017 12:12pm ET
Not trying to start any political debate, but this is why I'm proud I supported Trump. unnecessary over regulations kill businesses.
Ben Balliro Knoxville, TN, USA, July 15, 2017 7:18pm ET
I believe Gilliani is right, the FDA is overreaching regulations beyond it's intended purpose and all in the name of benefiting Americans. How can you benefit Americans by stifling the very industry that made America great in the first place? Small Businesses who grew because they had the freedoms to do so. Kill their momentum, and you kill the American Dream. Just my opinion.
Paul obrien July 17, 2017 2:55pm ET
The only bigger joke in this article than Rudy himself is the notion that Trump is good for anyone but Trump. Anyone who believes the Orange Hitler is going to help him is not a businessman -- he's a dupe.
Adam Harris Reno, Nevada, United States, July 17, 2017 7:08pm ET
It's too bad the cigar community is so inundated with hacks like Giuliani and psychopath Trump supporters. It makes those of us with taste, class, and even a modicum of intelligence look bad.
Fred Allen July 18, 2017 6:34pm ET
It's rather ironic that, in spite of many public health concerns, marijuana dispensaries are popping up like dandelions while the cigar industry is under fire. Here in Oregon there are 418 registered medical marijuana dispensaries with 167 dispensaries in Portland alone. (You could probably count the cigar lounges on one hand.) What this demonstrates is that the real issues are ideological. Legalized pot—and the move to legalize it—enjoys the favor of the new "establishment," which sees itself as progressive, tolerant, and open. The cigar industry, however, is perceived as a vestige of the "old guard," and, unlike the pot juggernaut, may be squeezed into oblivion with little political fallout. The cigar industry, however, might want to learn a lesson from the cannabis industry, which eroded resistance to full legalization through the very clever appeal to marijuana's medical use. Perhaps the cigar industry should argue that smokers of premium cigars are more likely, not only to be responsible citizens with good jobs, but that they also enjoy greater mental health through the stress relief a premium stick provides. Maybe we should call our retail humidors "medical cigar dispensaries" and see what happens.
Carl Pallas Palmetto, FL, United States, July 18, 2017 6:43pm ET
After owning a small business for 18 years and dealing with politians. Whether they are red or blue I don't trust what they say. If at the end of day it benefits them...It is all good!
Let's hope a pray there are many quality cigar smoking Politians!
Paul Gottlieb July 18, 2017 9:03pm ET
It's hard to believe that anyone would buy Giuliani's line. Trump didn't support the small businesses that he contracted with to build his hotels. It's well known that he stiffed people all along the way to getting rich. So why would he even think about cigar stores!
And if Trump's administration moves to reduce FDA regulations around hand-made cigars, they will also reduce regulations around air and water quality. So you'll be free to smoke good cigars at a reasonable price until you die, which might just be a bit sooner than you had anticipated.
Scott Gonza July 19, 2017 2:07pm ET
It is amaziing how little people understand the cost involved with regulations until the cigars they love are no longer affordable. One thing I did notice with many cigar makers, they live long lives. Lets go Trump and drop the regs hurting business and maybe push how folks that smoke premium cigars tend to live longer than your pot smokers.
Well Paul I will die happy and content. May you and the snail darters drudge around in misery
sticking your busybody noses in other entrepreneurs business for eternity.
Christian . July 19, 2017 9:50pm ET
Maybe throw some THC in my Havanas and then I can get a script for them. I'll grab a box of Behikes with my $20 co-pay.

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