By now we all know or have at least heard about the FDA rulings and regulations that were released on May 5th regarding the total control of all tobacco products to include premium cigars and pipe tobacco. This massive 490 + page document is set to take effect in T – 3 months, August 8, 2016.
We have all pretty much seen the flurry of activity all over social media, cigar sites, retailer sites, blogs, and any other cigar related entity. In addition we have seen the call to arms in signing petitions and writing our politicians. I have heard many good intentioned BOTLs / SOTLs state that they have “done their part” by signing the various petitions that are circulating online. And make no mistake, I as a fellow cigar Aficionadess, am grateful to each and every one of those online signatures.
However, what concerns me is that this is not going to be a quick or easily resolved fight. Notoriously, we Americans have very short attention spans and although we really do care about what is happening with the FDA, I believe we just can’t figure out how to commit to the long-haul in fighting it.
In a study done by Microsoft Corp. the attention spans of Americans were tested among those of the Goldfish, which has a 9 second ability to focus on one thing. Since 2000 and the advent of smartphones, we have gone from being slightly better than a Goldfish at 12 seconds to falling behind our gilled friends. We have attention spans of 8 seconds.
Now folks, this isn’t meant to demean us, but to simply provide the facts as scientifically proven. I myself can relate to the difficulties of staying tuned in to something for more than a brief moment. But what worries me and what should worry all of us in the cigar world is that we aren’t going to win any battles against the FDA if we can’t stay focused for more than a few seconds in everyday life let alone a prolonged battle between us and the Federal Government.
All of this brings me back to my original commentary about “doing our part”. It isn’t going to be enough to sign petitions online. We are already seeing one petition for the Whitehouse that has a goal of 100,000 signatures and to date has only between 5 and 6 thousand. “But there are so many different petitions out there”; “I’ve already signed one”. Brothers and Sisters I’ve got news for you – Stop worrying about what you’ve already signed and sign anything to do with fighting the FDA! If it looks like it’s a repeat of some other petition you’ve signed, don’t ignore it; try signing it. If it’s a duplicate signature I’m sure it will let you know. If not we’ll you just did something else to help the fight against the FDA and all probably within the 8 second window of our attention spans!
Seriously folks, this isn’t a threat that we can ignore or put our smoking heads in the sand about. I’ve heard the usual rhetoric that we are famous for when we get “bored” with hearing about a tough situation or problem that seems totally out of our control or influence:
“It’s government, what are you going to do?” “They will do what they want regardless of what we say”
“They don’t really intend to go through with this.” “There’s no way this will really happen.” “It’s all a ploy to get more money so I better start saving up and stocking up.”
While there may be some modicum of truth to any of these statements, as free Americans we have a responsibility to fight for our rights as adult cigar and pipe smokers. We should not feel a sense of upset followed by apathy and then complacency that renders us helpless against a government that wants more and more control over our freedoms. “But what more can I do?” Well persistence is key. Take that 8 seconds of attention and block out time on your smartphones, tablets, smart-watches, whatever you have that is managing your life, to get creative about consistently and persistently letting everyone and anyone who matters know how you really feel about the FDA ruling.
1. Draft a form letter to all your local politicians and send it WEEKLY!
2. Sign up for Cigar Rights of America and keep up with what is going on: cigarrights.org
3. Next time you go to your local B & M have a talk with your managers and sales associates – mine had no idea that anything was going on! Offer to make flyers for CRA ad put petitions in the store that you can forward to your local legislators.
4. That Herf you are going to have with all your buds? You know you are all going to bitch and complain about what the FDA is trying to do so why not take that same energy and brainstorm for different ways to get the word out and help the Cigar and Pipe Communities be HEARD!
Don’t tell yourself “someone else is working on this so I don’t have to.” That is one of the biggest misconceptions that we as Americans are willing to buy into. If you think it is “inconvenient” to have to fight this over the long haul, just think how inconvenient it is really going to be when your local B& M has to shut down because 75% of their stock is no longer sellable. Think about how inconvenient it is going to be when you can no longer buy cigars online or you have to try to order your favorite cigars from out of the country and hope that some tool in the customs arena doesn’t spot them and take them home for him and his buddies. Think about your social circles and all the fun contests and promotions that are done and the free cigars and accessories that are give out. They will be gone.
We the people……….We the Cigar smokers……….We the BOTLs and SOTLs of the United States of America, MUST make this fight part of our daily lives. Not only do our cigar lives depend on it but so do the lives of hundreds of thousands of cigar company workers both in and out of the United States. If we can go fight in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq then we can certainly fight for our brothers and sisters in the Dominican, Honduras, Nicaragua, and any other country that sells cigars to the United States.
As Nike so iconically states – Just Do It
Until next time,
“Stay smokey and Be blessed; I know I am!”
Diana ~aka “Queen of Cigars”
Time Magazine. Accessed May 16, 2016 at time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/ “You now have a shorter attentions span than a goldfish.
NBC News Report. Accessed May 16, 2016 at http://www.nbcnews.com.