A day after news broke on cigaraficionado.com that many of the world's leading cigar producers had joined to form Cigar Rights of America, a consumer organization aimed at combating anti-cigar regulations, the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (formerly known as the Retail Tobacco Dealers of America) issued an email announcing it was forming its own organization, with a working name of Friends of the Industry.
Joe Rowe, executive director of the IPCPR, said he hoped to have Friends of the Industry active within the month. When asked if Friends of the Industry and the CRA would work together, Rowe said: "Right now, I certainly don't see that…at the end of the day, the more people who are involved, the better."
Robert Levin, owner of the Ashton brand and a founding member of CRA, said the announcement from IPCPR took him and other CRA members by surprise. "We're all working toward the same goal," he said. "All the cigar manufacturers are lining up to be part of the CRA, and we invite the IPCPR to join our organization. I think we should work together."
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