From the ‘How Stupid Is This?’ News Desk, please welcome Canada’s Federal Department of Health.  So all the smart people that know how the world works, and work for the Dept of Health, decided that the way to cut down on all the rampant cigar smoking ( sarcasm), that is going on in Canada, is to change all the cigar box packaging to this:

Insert Face to Palm. Enter bettercigarplan.ca

Bettercigarplan.ca sums it up like this:

On June 25th, Canada’s Federal Department of Health published draft regulations outlining new packaging requirements for all tobacco products sold in Canada. These new requirements include premium cigars. As proposed, these regulations under the new Bill called Bill S-5, will cause unnecessary harm and injury to independently owned and operated cigar stores and their suppliers across Canada.

Our industry is not the big tobacco companies that produce cigarettes. Our industry, premium cigars, is made up of cigar stores that are small family owned businesses. We sell these hand made products crafted by women and men in the developing world to adults here in Canada. Health Canada acknowledges that if their Bill is implemented fully, more than fifty percent of the cigars currently available in Canada will disappear from our shelves as most manufacturers will refuse or be unable to comply with the new rules due to cost.

Premium cigars account for less than .01% of the tobacco products sold in Canada but are almost 100% of the business of Canada’s cigar shops. This new legislation, if passed without an exemption for premium tobacco, will cause unnecessary loss of jobs in Canada, and in the small factories making these products in Honduras, Nicaragua, Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Judging a Book By its Cover

So here again we have government completely misunderstanding the cigar market and crafting legislation that will likely kill the small cigar community that exists in Canada. The Better Cigar Plan are trying to motivate both those in the industry and our community of cigar smokers to get involved by petitioning our local government representatives to vote down this bill or at least consider changes:

There is a better way to address the tobacco issues regulated in Health Canada’s Bill S-5: it is the Better Cigar Plan. The Better Cigar Plan achieves the aims of Health Canada’s legislation while insuring collateral damage to the premium cigar industry is entirely avoided. We have until September 6th, 2018 to make our collective voices heard during what is called the Consultation Period.

The Better Cigar Plan adopts the British model for plain packaging. The Better Cigar Plan would ask that premium cigars be exempt from Bill S-5. Britain exempted premium cigars from their legislation because they realized that cigars have no appeal to youth. In doing so, health authorities in Britain managed to enforce Plain and Standardized Packaging on 99% of their tobacco market without causing unnecessary harm to the cigar industry in the UK.

We aim to achieve the same, insuring that small family-run enterprises across Canada would be spared the disastrous effects of this legislation.

Short Rant

Look, its not about having the pretty box, with the pretty band ( well sometimes it is haha), it is always going to be about the cigar. But trust me, changing the packaging is not going to change any enthusiast’s mind about smoking cigars. We are still going to smoke cigars, if anything there will be a plunge in the crafting market because we won’t have to come up with cool ways to decoupage our bands. Nor will it deter underage cigar smokers. Why? BECAUSE THAT IS NOT A THING! I work on a collage campus, there are 4000+ students, I have never, in 15 years, seen anyone posted up outside the bar or around campus with a cigar. Ever. When I pick my kids up from high school there are not groups of marauding teens puffing on Cohiba’s in the smoke pit. Why? BECAUSE THAT IS NOT A THING EITHER! So all this change does, is piss off those of us that do enjoy this hobby! Anger….fading….fading…. fading, rising! Fading…fading……

How To Get Involved

While I know the readership of CigarNoise if predominately those in the US, for all my Canadian BOTL’s and SOTL’s if you want to get involved, head to www.betterplan.ca to use the pre-drafted materials and get the email information for your MP so you can make your voice heard. Sean Fraser, check your inbox.

If you want to check out Better Plan they have a instagram account and are posting regularly. Nice to see some PSA video support from Rocky Patel and Nicolas Melilo from Foundation Cigars, hopefully others will follow.


Sean Ryan

Contributor at CigarNoise
There are 2635 kilometres to Chicago, we have a full tank of gas, half a box of Patina's, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses. Let's Go.