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Richard L. DiMeola

Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Consolidated Cigar Corporation

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CA: When they can, a lot of restaurants, especially today, try to offer cigars. A lot of them can't.

DiMeola: Agreed. But now this is happening all over the country. In Fort Lauderdale, where our headquarters is located, there is a restaurant called Smoke that caters to cigar smoking. It's been so successful [the owner has] opened up his second floor, which he calls Up In Smoke, which is like a nightclub. Nick's Fish Market just opened an atrium in Boca Raton for cigar smoking. It's happening all over America. So there are more places to smoke a cigar today then ever before. And I think that that trend is definitely going to continue.

CA: So do you believe then that, in spite of a number of restrictions that cities and states are placing on smoking, because of consumer demand there are a number of outlets opening and that this will continue, bringing about a wider selection of locales for people to enjoy their pastime?

DiMeola: This is a government for the people, by the people. And as consumers become more and more interested in wanting to have a place to smoke, then governments are going to have to allow them to do it.

CA: 1990: 100 million premium handmade cigars; 1995, 170 million. The year 2000?

DiMeola: Well over 300 million--and climbing.

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