Proposal to Tax Pipe Tobacco at RYO Rates

22nd January, 2010: Posted by glpease in Pipe & Tobacco News

[This was originally published over at the excellent No More Tobacco Taxes blogsite, and is reproduced here with permission of the author. We are a small group, but we need to spread the word, and more importantly, we need to act. Write your representatives to protest this proposed bill. -glp]

HR 4439, the Tobacco Tax Parity Act of 2010 was introduced on January 13, 2010 and would tax pipe tobacco at the same insane rate ($24.78 per pound) as roll-your-own tobacco from the current $2.8311 per pound. Introduced by Representatives Steve Cohen (Dem., TN) and Lloyd Doggett (Dem., TX), it has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee of which Mr. Doggett, a staunch anti-smoking advocate, is a member.

This bill is not really aimed at pipe smokers as that segment of the population (estimated at .01% of US adults) is so small that the additional revenue generated by PIPE SMOKERS wouldn’t cover the cost of pursuing this change. nothing more than an attempt to rope in taxes from roll-your-own cigarette enthusiasts who having been stung by this same price increase in their addiction last spring (thank you SCHIPs) have decided to start rolling pipe tobacco because it is suddenly cheaper real RYO tobacco (if you can call that stuff tobacco really).

Unfortunately, the RYO industry has brought this on to a certain extent because many brands/bags of RYO tobacco have been relabeled as pipe tobacco for taxation purposes. You can tell by looking at the type and the cut of the tobacco that no right-thinking brother of the briar would even consider sticking this trash in their pipe but the manufacturers have proudly changed their RYO packaging to crow that what they are selling is now pipe tobacco and should be taxed at a much lower rate.

Well now, those few of us that truly enjoy a pipe, whether meerschaum, briar or even the old American favorite corncob pipe are going to have to pay through the nose because of RYO smokers trying to inexpensively fuel their addictions AND the greed of corporate RYO tobacco producers.

However, all is not lost.

Contact your local representatives and put pressure on them to stop this bill. If we don’t stop this now, it could spell the end of a tradition here in the US: the considered pursuit of the perfect smoke by brothers (and sisters) of the pipe as well as the end of the traditional Tobacconist as we know it.


[The original article can be found here.]

Still More CORPS News

18th September, 2009: Posted by glpease in Pipe & Tobacco News

Well, sort of. It’s not about CORPS, but it’s about something that will make its debut there;  the first pipe from Pease/diPiazza Design in collaboration with Radice.

Presenting, the Rubens Rhodesian.

Back in 2007, Luca di Piazza and I started working on a fun project. It’s been an interesting journey so far, and we’re really excited to announce that this tree is finally bearing fruit! You can read the full story over in the Briar & Leaf Chronicles. It’s just the first of many; we’re already working on the next design, and a few other interesting things.

First ScHIP Victims Sunk

24th June, 2009: Posted by glpease in Pipe & Tobacco News

So, Waxman’s Titanic ScHIP idiocy seems to have taken its first victims. I wonder how many of the nearly 500 employees of this company will be left using the children’s health-care that comes at the expense of their jobs.

From an article in the Miami Herald:

Hav-A-Tampa cigar plant closing; 500 lose jobs

The Associated Press

A cigar factory in Tampa is closing its doors and laying off nearly 500 workers.

Altadis USA announced Tuesday that it is shutting down its Hav-A-Tampa plant in light of decreasing demand and higher cigar taxes. In a letter to the state, Altadis USA said it plans to terminate 492 positions by Aug. 24.

Rick McKenzie, the company’s vice president of human resources, says business has been hurt by rising taxes. A new federal tobacco tax went into effect in April and will help pay for a health insurance program for low-income children.

The company’s Web site says Hav-A-Tampa cigars were originally trademarked in 1902.

McKenzie says the cigars will continue to be produced at a plant in Puerto Rico.

Quality Briar On-line

13th June, 2009: Posted by glpease in Pipe & Tobacco News

It’s not often in our little world of pipes and tobaccos, where brick and mortar shops seem to be closing monthly, that a new shop opens its doors, even if they are virtual ones. In a bold move, Nick Miller has done just that with his new website, Quality Briar.

Those who are familiar with Nick know that he’s got pretty good taste in pipes. He’s also a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to selling stuff, and that’s not a bad thing; he wants to actually talk to his customers. There’s certainly room on the planet for another pipe-shop, even a virtual one, and I’m glad Nick has opened his doors. Stop by for a look around, and join me in wishing him success with his new venture.


The ScHIP Sets Sail…

6th February, 2009: Posted by glpease in Pipe & Tobacco News

…And we’re stuck aboard, like deck chairs on the Titanic.

This following mercilessly swiped table (source:*) indicates the new Federal excise tax on tobacco products, along with the current taxes we all know and despise, and the proposed taxes vetoed twice by ex-prez G.W. The new rates go into effect 1st April, 2009. Fortunately, for most of us, pipe tobacco isn’t hit as badly as it could have been, resulting in a price increase of only about 20¢ per ounce. Nor have cigars, taken a serious beating, but it may herald the death of many RYO tobaccos currently on the market. Is it any wonder that Big Tobacco supported this? Nothing like taxing your competition into oblivion in the spirit of free trade. Read more…»

Pipes for Charity

23rd June, 2008: Posted by glpease in Pipe & Tobacco News

My friend Luca, who operates the website, is doing something to help the people of China after the devastating earthquake of 12th May. He’s put a pair of very beautiful Castello canadians, one Sea Rock, and one Occhio de Pernice, up on Ebay, with all proceeds from the auction going to the Croce Rossa Italiana (Italian Red Cross), who are providing much needed aid to China.

This set was made by Castello to commemorate the fifth anniversary of NeatPipes. (Really, he’s just about to celebrate the sixth, so these sets are just a little late coming from the factory, but better late than never!) There were only five sets made, so this is a rare opportunity to get something truly special, and help others at the same time. My hat is off to Luca for doing this, and for all who have bid on the set, further demonstration of the pipester’s spirit of brotherhood and charity.

Happy International Pipe Smoking Day

20th February, 2008: Posted by glpease in Pipe & Tobacco News

That’s right, it’s the first annual IPSD, and I, for one, plan on raising a special bowl to commemorate the occasion.

Turnabout is Fair Play…Update

11th January, 2008: Posted by glpease in Pipe & Tobacco News

If you’re fed up with all the news items concerning companies discriminating against employees for smoking, even off the job, you’ve simply got to read this story from Reuters. Who knows how long the guy will be able to keep it up, but it’s certainly amusing to see someone fighting back…

Okay, so the story has been taken down from Reuters, so I removed the above link to it. Basically, it was about a German computer company owner who fired three employees for threatening to make a stink about his allowing smoking in the workplace. He then said he would ONLY hire smokers. Amusing, but, apparently a hoax, as this story, also from Reuters, reveals. But, there’s some wonderful spirit in this guy. He’s certainly on an valiant campaign against the antis.
I hope this time, the link lives a little longer…

Comoy Focus Group Coming to Chicago Show

20th December, 2007: Posted by glpease in Pipe & Tobacco News

Just got a note from England that’s exciting to those who love the tradition and lore of old English pipes, and especially, those from the house of Comoy. Derek Green has been invited to put together a Comoy Focus Group for the Chicagoland pipe extravaganza next May (2008). This will be run in a similar fashion to the Charatan Focus Group put together two years ago. Anyone with three or more Comoy pipes is invited to attend. (This is a far less daunting entrance fee than five Charatans! Though I’ve noticed more than a little upward pressure on the prices of old Comoys over the past year or so, they can still offer an excellent value, especially some of the lower grades.)

Derek, fellow enthusiast and devoted scholar of the briar, has done an absolutely terrific job of assembling a lot of information about Comoy pipes on his site, including some lovely historic photographs, reproductions of old catalogues, and a fairly comprehensive dating guide. It’s well worth a visit if you’re interested in English pipes in general, and a must read if you’re a fan of Comoys.

I am looking forward to this event, and want to thank Derek for his innumerable hours of research and analysis to bring so much great information to the screens of all who collect Comoys, or who just appreciate old English wood.

Post Show Ramble & New Blends

14th November, 2007: Posted by glpease in Pipe & Tobacco News, New Blends

The Merced show on Saturday was, as expected, a fantastic time. This is a small, friendly show, not the sort of three ring extravaganza that takes place in Chicago. I really enjoy both sorts of pipe shows, for different reasons. Thanks to the Fresno and Merced guys for an amazing job getting this one together. It was well organized, and smoothly run.

I got to catch up with some old friends, make a few new ones, see some great pipes, and talk about tobaccos, including the two new prototypes I put out for sampling. Maltese Falcon was well received, which, of course, made me happy. Lots of great comments, and from the reactions, I’d better get my tail shaking and get the thing to market. (I was hoping for release before Christmas, but that doesn’t look likely at this point. It’s all down to the artwork and labels. Details. The devil in the details.)

The other “surprise” prototype is one I’m calling Maduro Cut Cake - a blend of Cyprus Latakia, red Virginias, orientals and cigar leaf, pressed in cakes and sliced. Talk about a warm reception! Everyone who tried it really seemed to enjoy it, and quite a few came back for seconds. In all, I went through nearly a pound of it, which by my reckoning is something over 100 bowls. I know my own smoking wasn’t responsible for more than five of those. There are production and packaging issues to work through, but I’m very excited about it, and look forward to making it available. Though similar to Robusto in its components, it’s a very different smoke. More to follow on this one.

There were many wonderful pipes on display, including some amazing pieces by makers Jeff Gracik (J. Alan Pipes) and Darius Dah (GRC Pipes). Joel Shapiro was there with a few, as well, and his beautiful briar presentation grade pistol stocks really got some attention. He had one each of a sandblasted and a smooth set, cut for the Ruger Vaquero, but he’s doing others as well. I think he’s onto something with these. Joel is well known in the “Cowboy Action Shooting” world, and this seems like a logical extension of his briar manipulations.

I was fortunate to get a rusticated Fritz era Becker oliphant for an excellent price from my old friend Marty Pulvers (Honest Marty - our kinda’ guy) and an amazing ancient and rare GBD from my friend Brian Burk. It’s an Xtra Prehistoric, only the second of this grade I’ve ever seen, and is very, very old. Brian got it unsmoked, so it’s history is impeccable, and I can’t wait to give it a whirl. I’ve never gotten a bad pipe from Brian. Okay, I once got a bad pipe from Brian, but we were young, and I kicked his ass in the parking lot, so he quickly changed his ways. In that selfless act of beating him senseless, I taught him all that he ever needs to know about pipe trading.

Finally, I brought home a beautiful, small sandblasted, stylized, sort of unwound horn from Darius. (That’s it pictured above.) Darius does very nice work, and his prices are probably too low, but don’t tell him I said that…

After the show, a bunch of us went to Fernandos for dinner and more fellowship. I finally got on the road for the drive home at about 9.30, just as a storm was forming over the pass, making the three hour drive back far less pleasant than the two hour drive there…

Can’t wait until next year’s!


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