I know that there are a lot of folks that don’t agree with ANY kind of tobacco use. If you are one of those people you’re probably not going to agree with this blog but bear with me for a moment.
It seems that for quite some time the folks at the Orange Bowl Committee have had an agreement with Camacho Cigars (which is a company started by a family from Cuba in Tampa) in which the folks at Camacho would be a corporate sponsor for the bowl game and would host some of the VIPS and others that have the bucks to get one of the “suites” at the stadium as well as providing a “cigar lounge” area from which folks that choose to purchase and smoke expensive cigars could herf a “stogie” and watch the game.
Now, by “expensive” I mean that this is a smoke that I might could spring for one cigar from J&R Cigars every once in a blue moon. A box of Comacho Triple Maduro (one of their best selling “full bodied” cigars) sells at the J&R discount rate of $260 for a box of 21 (6×60). A single is about $6.60.
To quote from Frank Seltzer at J&R:
Camacho Cigars signed a three-year deal as a corporate sponsor of the Miami based bowl game. There were plans for there to be on-site Camacho lounges where you could smoke. According to the company’s release,
At the Orange Bowl Game Day Fan Zone, the Orange Bowl’s largest pre-game event, guests can relax before kickoff in a beautifully appointed Camacho Club Lounge. There will also be two cigar lounges located in the designated smoking areas of the stadium on the Club Level for attendees of the Orange Bowl VIP pre-game party.
Dylan Austin—the head of marketing for Camacho—said since Camacho’s roots are in south Florida it was an honor to be partnered with such a class operation. Well maybe the honor ain’t so hot and certainly not a lot of class.
Late last week, a bunch of health groups (including Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and the American Cancer Society) started pressuring the Orange Bowl to drop the sponsorship. (It is for the kids don’t you know.)
On Thursday, three Democratic Senators jumped on the bandwagon (Lautenberg of NJ, Durbin of IL and Blumenthal of CT). They wrote to both the Orange Bowl and the NCAA saying the sponsorship should be dropped. By Friday, the bowl officials and NCAA responded to the congressional pressure and kicked Camacho out. (Wonder who will reimburse Camacho ?)”
These groups said that it would be a “bad influence” on kids to portray cigars as “athletic, masculine and cool”. My first reaction was “What the heck are these people REALLY smoking???”
First off, little Johnny ain’t going to be in the areas where these events would have gone. Second, Camacho’s ain’t the kind of thing that little Johnny can go to the corner convenience store and lie about his age and pick up to go sneak a smoke behind the garage. Third, a group of grown men and women (yes, I know women who smoke a good Montecristo sometime) can’t go to a sponsored cigar lounge but you can paste Beer and other alcohol ads from one end of the stadium to the other and (gasp!) SELL BEER at the concession stand. How about the athletic apparel ads? I don’t know about the rest of ya’ll but in all my time of smoking cigars I’ve never been in a store humidor when suddenly a riot, fight or gunshots rang out because they just got in the new Excaliber “Black Knight”. But put Michael Jordan’s new shoes out and all hell breaks loose (Mike also likes cigars when he’s playing golf or at the casino, by the way).
Let’s see what else. Doritos…I can tell you from personal experience that they will make you FAT if you eat too much. Video games? Please…don’t get me started on that as that’s a rant that would take up an entire blog in itself. Car commercials? Why are you trying to sell me a four-wheel bullet that can do 0 to 100 in a nanosecond when the highest speedlimit in the US is about 70 mph???
So what are my points in this? First, that three senators from states other than Florida should have never interjected themselves into an event that is in another state that they had NOTHING to do with. Second, the NCAA has more things that they should worry about (just check the sports section of your paper for the last year) than if a group of grown people get to sit in a lounge in a DESIGNATED SMOKING AREA and puff on an expensive cigar por gratis. And third, any sporting event in the US that decides that they can give in to each and every special interest group will soon find themseleves hosting the NCAA Badmitton tournament sponsored by Depends and Right Guard.
Meanwhile, a responsible, reputable company that signed a THREE YEAR DEAL now has to go through the trouble to try to recoup the money they spent thus far because someone was scared Little Johnny might see someone smoke a cigar. Now all he has to see are the drunks getting kicked out of the stands and the latest sports scandal on ESPN but at least nobody’s smoking.