Under the theme “Education and Private-Public sector collaboration: Essential to protect, nurture and develop the artisanal premium cigar industry”, the Premium Cigar Association launched last week in London the first International Diplomatic Premium Cigar Policy Roundtable, in partnership with the Ambassadors and senior diplomatic representatives of the world’s major cigar producing nations, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Honduras. It was co-hosted by Great Britain’s Rila Institute of Health Sciences, and Tor Imports, the leading importer, distributor, and marketing arm of cigars from these nations in the U.K.
During the roundtable, held under Chatham House rules, the PCA’s Deputy Executive Director, Joshua Habursky, and Tor Imports’ COO Ricardo Carioni, presented an overview of the American and British premium cigar markets. They addressed major legislative and regulatory challenges faced by the industry in the United Estates, the United Kingdom and Europe, as well as recent successes towards fairer and science-led regulatory frameworks.
Habursky highlighted: “Internationalizing this kind of frank and collaborative exchange with senior government officials is an important strategic objective for the PCA. It is our view that sharing factual knowledge and strengthening relations with officials, and with the Medical and Scientific communities, are essential for our mission to protect our members and the wider premium cigar industry against business-killing regulations and taxes, which we know are not just of domestic nature but can easily travel across states and international borders”.
“This London Roundtable initiative is in line with the PCA’s Vision 50, our new strategy to advance and improve the political landscape for premium tobacconists through positive, proactive legislation and policy across the entire geography of our members”, said Habursky.
One of the key topics discussed at length at the London Roundtable was the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine recent review on Premium Cigars, acknowledging that premium cigars have distinct characteristics, method and frequency of use resulting in different health outcomes compared to other tobacco products. This conclusion is aligned with the view shared across the Roundtable, that premium cigars represent a unique product category that presents a lower risk to public health.
Carioni commented: “As international members of the PCA, we welcome this extraordinary opportunity to join efforts and be part of this essential dialogue among key government officials and leaders from the private and public sectors at our Tor Imports offices in London. I’m optimistic this will set a precedent that will catalyse a productive cross border, cross sectors partnership and collaboration, driven by education and science. Ultimately it will help us to protect our communities, for whom the premium cigar industry is such a vital source of great positive social impact, economic wellbeing, and stability”.
His Excellency, Iván Romero-Martínez, Ambassador of Honduras and Dean of the Latin American Diplomatic Corps in the U.K. concluded: “We share the commitment reached by my fellow diplomats at this important roundtable to help educate our colleagues and authorities from cigar-importing nations, to support research and development of scientific knowledge to showcase the positive social impact and lower health risks of premium cigars, and to strengthen our efforts to form global alliances and cooperation across all sectors”.