Aloha and welcome!

Our Mission

The Hawaii Cigar Association mission is very simple. We are a collective group of business owners, and consumers in Hawaii who both enjoy the pleasures of premium cigars, and who are dedicated to preserving the right to enjoy one of nature’s finest gifts.  Premium cigars as we define them are cigars that are made entirely by hand of all natural tobacco leaf, hand-constructed and hand-wrapped, with no filter or characterizing flavor, and weighing more than four pounds per one thousand cigars.  In other words, these traditional cigars are made for adults.  And, they will no longer be confused with the candy and fruit flavored tobacco products targeting our youth.

Whether it be at social events, or through public advocacy , the Hawaii Cigar Association is an exclusive group that only welcomes like minded individuals. All members will share our concerns, opinions, and political goals.

Integrity has no need of rules. ~Albert Camus

I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not so desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. ~Henry David Thoreau

The Hawaii Cigar Association also serves as a link to other cigar associations around the world. Through these groups we are connected to an extended family of growers, manufacturers, retailers, consumers, and like minded individuals.

Legislative Action News

Feb 28, 2015
Two cigar tax bills are up for hearing this week

The 2015 Hawaii Legislative Session is now moving fast in both the House and the Senate prior to the first cross over.  

Two cigar tax bills are up for hearing this week.  At 9AM on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 the Senate Committee on Ways and Means (WAM) will hear SB401, a bill that places a tax cap of fifty cents on all large cigars.  

At 11AM on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 the House Committee on Finance (FIN) will hear a version that originally contained matching language to SB401, a bill that places a tax cap of fifty cents on all large cigars.  The new language in HB145 HD1 relates to a tax credit for qualified cigar producers in Hawaii.   

We all acknowledge that mail order cigar sales go untaxed, and a change in the law would allow local businesses, and consumers to keep our dollars here in Hawaii.

We kindly ask that you read, and offer your SUPPORT or comments on these two measures up for hearing.  Testimony must be submitted no later than 9AM on Monday for SB401, and no later than 11AM on Tuesday for HB145 HD1.

You may track and submit testimony in SUPPORT of these measures by clicking the following links:

SENATE BILL SB401
HOUSE BILL HB145


Your testimony plays a pivotal role in the process.  If you have any questions, or comments prior to your involvement please feel free to email, or call us at 808-822-4495.  The HCA will be at the Capitol on both Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Help Exempt Premium Cigars From FDA Regulation!

H.R. 662 / S. 441 - A bill to clarify the FDA's jurisdiction over certain tobacco products

With the close of the comment period on the FDA's proposed deeming rule to regulate premium cigars, it's incumbent upon the cigar enthusiasts of the United States to voice their opposition to the proposed regulation of premium  cigars by contacting your Members of Congress to ask for their support of H.R. 662 and S. 441.

H.R. 662 and S. 441 have been filed in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate under the banner "To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to clarify the Food and Drug Administration's jurisdiction over certain tobacco products, and to protect jobs and small business involved in the sale, manufacturing and distrubtion of traditional and premium cigars." This bi-partisan legislation would protect premium cigars from FDA regulatory authority.  This legislation will have a profound impact on protecting the industry, from the fields and factories of Central America to the supply-chain throughout this nation, to the community tobacconist, to enjoying a cigar in the local shop, club or back porch.

Take action now and respectfully ask your Member of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 662 and S.441.

Click Here to take Action

Jan 26, 2015

Hawaii Legislative Session has begun

The 2015 Hawaii Legislative Session has begun, and there are three versions of bills up for consideration in both the House and the Senate.  
 
Over the last two sessions both the House and the Senate have passed bills that would cap the cigar tax at 50 cents.  A tax cap, in addition to a self service ban exemption on premium cigars, would create parity in the tax code, and allow local retailers to compete on a level playing field.  

We all acknowledge that mail order cigar sales go untaxed, and a change in the law would allow local businesses, and consumers to keep our dollars here in Hawaii.
 
We kindly ask that you read, and track the following bills this session.

HOUSE BILLS:
HB143
Defines "premium cigar," and applies a tax of 50.00 cents per premium cigar. Exempts premium cigars from self-service display ban.
HB144
Replaces the term "large cigar" with "premium cigar". Replaces the percentage tax on large cigars with a tax of 50.00 cents per premium cigar. Exempts premium cigars from self-service display ban.
HB145
Amends the excise tax rate on the sale of large cigars beginning on 7/1/2015 to the lesser of 50 cents for each large cigar or 50 per cent of the wholesale price of each large cigar.

SENATE BILLS:
SB399
Defines "premium cigar," and applies a tax of 50.00 cents per premium cigar. Exempts premium cigars from self-service display ban.
SB400
Replaces the term "large cigar" with "premium cigar". Replaces the percentage tax on large cigars with a tax of 50.00 cents per premium cigar. Exempts premium cigars from self-service display ban.
SB401
Amends the excise tax rate on the sale of large cigars beginning on 7/1/2015 to the lesser of 50 cents for each large cigar or 50 per cent of the wholesale price of each large cigar.

 

June 1, 2014

FDA Update on Premium Cigars; Hawai‘i Cigar Tax Cap

 

Aloha Hawaii Cigar Association members and supporters of premium cigars!

The 2014 Hawai‘i legislative session has ended, and again Hawai‘i’s premium cigar industry has been denied parity and fairness in the state’s tax code. In 2013 the state Senate passed a cigar tax cap bill (SB188) on premium cigars by a vote of twenty-four to one. This year the House passed its own version of a tax cap (HB1849), which included all large cigars. Surprisingly, Senate Ways and Means chair David Ige deferred the bill indefinitely, with neither a vote nor a public hearing. Prior to the deferral, the bill had been amended and sent to the Senate Committee on Health. Amendments included striking the $.50 tax cap on all large cigars and leaving the tax amount open for further debate. A second amendment would have added language exempting premium cigars from the self-service display ban set to go into effect July 1, 2014. But rather than amending the bill, as the Attorney General’s office suggested, or sending it to conference committee, Senator Ige deferred it, thus killing any hope of its passage this year. This was certainly unexpected, because last year Senator Ige had supported a $.50 tax cap on premium cigars.

Regardless, the HCA would like to thank legislators on both sides for moving us closer to solving the tax disparity on premium cigars and for supporting those of us who create local jobs, support our communities and assure tax revenue for Hawai‘i. Sixty out seventy-six state legislators support a tax cap on cigars, and we are confident that a compromise can be reached in 2015; we believe that lawmakers will pass legislation that benefits local industry and satisfies those who desire fairness in the law.

We would again like to thank those legislators who have supported our cause over the last two years.  

Thirty-six of fifty-one House members voting aye for HB1849 and a $.50 per large cigar tax cap in the 2014 session:  

Henry Aquino, Karen Awana, Della Au Belatti, Tom Brower, Rida Cabanilla, Romy Cachola, Mele Carroll, Isaac Choy, Denny Coffman, Ty Cullen, Cindy Evans, Richard Fale, Mark Hashem, Linda Ichiyama, Jo Jordan, Derek Kawakami, Chris Lee, Nicole Lowen, Sylvia Luke, Bob McDermott, Angus McKelvey, John Mizuno, Dee Morikawa, Mark Nakashima, Scott Nishimoto, Richard Onishi, Karl Rhoads, Scott Saiki, Calvin Say, Joseph Souki, Mark Takai, James Tokioka, Clift Tsuji, Justin Woodson, Ryan Yamane and Kyle Yamashita.

Twenty-four of twenty-five Senate members voting aye for SB188 and a $.50 per premium cigar tax cap in the 2013 session:  

Rosalyn Baker, Suzanne Chun Oakland, Donovan Dela Cruz, Kalani English, Will Espero, Mike Gabbard, Brickwood Galuteria, Josh Green, MD, Clayton Hee, David Ige, Les Ihara, Gilbert Kahele, Gilbert Keith-Agaran, Michelle Kidani, Donna Kim, Ronald Kouchi, Clarence Nishihara, Russell Ruderman, Maile Shimabukuro, Sam Slom, Malama Solomon, Brian Taniguchi, Laura Thielen, Jill Tokuda and Glenn Wakai.

In response to the US Food and Drug Administration’s 241-page document of proposed tobacco regulations released last April, the HCA visited Washington, DC to share our views. Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz joined Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in supporting the premium cigar industry by sponsoring Cigar Rights of America’s legislative efforts in S772 and HR792. Both Sen. Hirono and Rep. Hanabusa have stood by the HCA and CRA since day one of this effort, which began two years ago. Their sponsorship of these bills was a vote for small businesses and job protection. It also sent a message to the FDA that America’s cigar tradition should not be regulated out of existence, particularly because that tradition poses little to no threat to our nation’s youth. The HCA is deeply grateful for their support and willingness to compromise.

left: Senator Mazie Hirono, middle: Senator Brian Schatz, right: Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa

If adopted, option two of the FDA report would exempt premium cigars from further FDA regulation. During the seventy-five-day public comment period allowed by the FDA, it is critical for premium cigar consumers, retailers and manufacturers to voice their support for such an exemption. Members of the public can share their comments by visiting the CRA web site at http://cigarrights.org/fda-response.php. Manufacturers and retailers can visit the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association can voice their opinion by visiting http://www.ipcpr.org/?page=LegislativeActionCen.  For more information about these legislative efforts, please visit the Hawaii Cigar Association’s web site. Be sure to voice your opinion by July 9, 2014! The letters below were recently submitted to members of Congress and the FDA on behalf of the HCA.

HCA letter to the U.S. House of Representatives
HCA letter to the U.S. Senate 
HCA letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Kauai Cigar Company letters to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

The Hawaii Cigar Association will keep the public up to date on all matters relating to state and federal matters relating to premium cigars.

State of Hawaii "premium cigar" flat rate tax bill SB188

SB188 defines a "premium cigar", and assigns a flat rate tax of 50 cents per "premium cigar". Sign the petition

Premium cigars as we define them are cigars that are made entirely by hand of all natural tobacco leaf, hand-constructed and hand-wrapped, with no filter or characterizing flavor, and weighing more than four pounds per one thousand cigars.

LEGISLATIVE TRACKER

Hawaii Cigar Tax Petitions Signed 893
Hawaii Supporting Businesses 211

 

FDA ISSUES DEEMING NEW TOBACCO REGULATIONS, PREMIUM CIGARS MAY BE SPARED

—read more 

2014 Premium Cigar Legislative Initiative

—read more 

Unwarranted Attack On Kauai Cigar Company is Unfair. Data and Testimony Untrue and Falsely Targets Premium Cigars.

—read more

2013 "Premium Cigar" Flat Rate Tax Bill SB188 Soars Through Senate, but Stalls in the House.  Self Service Cigar Display Ban Starting July 2014.

—read more 

Congresswoman Hirono’s Response To HR 1639

—read more

STATE OF HAWAII Cigar Tax Cap Petition Drive

—read more

Key Hawaii Lawmaker Steps Up to Support Traditional Cigars 

—read more