Cigar Rights of Europe interview. Legislation in Europe is getting more strict. So strict that even distributors like Cubacigar Benelux file lawsuits against governments. And in a protest against nanny state regulations, the Cigar Rights of Europe was founded.
More recently, a new board took over. They now run the day to day operations of Cigar Rights of Europe. And that’s a good moment to interview the new chairman, Claudia Wiemer.
What is Cigar Rights of Europe?
We, the members, are a public, grassroots democratic interest group of cigar consumers. The Cigar Rights of Europe functions as an umbrella association for all European countries.
Cigar Rights of Europe was founded a few years ago, yet to the public, Cigar Rights of Europe has been quite silent. What did you do in those years?
The former board started to run the organization. With the upcoming planned and realized restrictions, it is more necessary to be in the focus of the public. That is our mission for the future.
What is the goal of the Cigar Rights of Europe?
Cigar enjoyment has had a cultural and social value for many centuries. Through legal paternalism and overregulation in politics and the public, we are increasingly restricted in our individual freedom to enjoy cigars by the government.
The enjoyment of a cigar must be guaranteed and possible for every European, where people of the same opinion unanimously approve of this type of tobacco enjoyment, whether it be in a private setting, in restaurants, the hotel industry or in private or public institutions specially created for this purpose.
Politicians have also failed to realize that there is a striking difference between cigarettes and artistically handmade cigars. These two products could not be treated the same from a regulatory point of view. Because cigars do not produce chain smokers and do not attract young people.
Why is it important for people to join the Cigar Rights of Europe?
We must show that a large number of people are opposed to these prohibitions. The more we do this, the greater our voice and the public’s perception of our concerns.
Who are the Cigar Rights of Europe?
The board members are consumers who have a main job outside the cigar industry. Therefore it is a big challenge for us to run this club on the side. But we do this with great passion to stand up for our rights as cigar connoisseurs. On the other hand, we have ambassadors in every country who support us.
Europe is greatly divided when it comes to rules and regulations. How do you pick to fight what and where?
We are the umbrella organization for Europe. So we have in several countries ambassadors because regulations are different in every country. They are the link to the various countries and our local “mouthpiece”. The board holds the threads together and ensures the current status of the information, e.g. on our website.
In Austria, a separate national organization (www.croa.at) was founded under the roof of the Cigar Rights of Europe movement
How can people join the Cigar Rights of Europe? And what can they expect in return?
You can register via our website or the attached QR code. You are a member of a large growing European community that is committed to your public and political interests. You will receive information about your country’s current laws and what you can do locally to defend your rights. You can exchange ideas with like-minded people and of course be in dialogue with the board members.
The American equivalent gets funding from limited edition cigars, released by sponsors. Is that a plan for the Cigar Rights of Europe too?
The American club is organized differently and cooperates with the cigar industry. We, on the other hand, are an independent consumer association, so this is not planned at the moment but we will see what the future brings.
Can we expect Cigar Rights of Europe events, to create awareness for the cause and to fund the fight?
At the moment we do not organize own CRE events. But whenever possible we attend events and meet people to spread our mission. We talk to cigar shops and lounges, we are present at CSWC(Cigar Slow Smoking World Championship) Events, e. g. in Split in August and it is also planned to be present at the Intertabac. We are taking every opportunity to focus the public on our mission.
What are social media outlets? How can people reach Cigar Rights of Europe?
We run the website www.cigarrightsofeurope.com. Here you can find all the important information. A regular newsletter is planned and gradually we will expand the site further. We are also present on Facebook and Instagram (@cigarrightsofeurope).
What kind of memberships are you offering?
We are offering two kinds of memberships. The individual membership is 25 €/year, for companies 100 €/year.
Is the industry supporting the Cigar Rights of Europe?
We are an independent consumer organization.