Cigar Family Community Complex
to be Built in Caribe, Dominican Republic

Tampa - The Cigar Family Charitable Foundation has purchased 23 acres of land adjacent to Chateau de la Fuente in the Dominican Republic where a new community center for the residents of Caribe will be built. When completed, this CFC Complex will incorporate a sports complex, medical facility, school, and recreation center.

Inspired by both the tremendous humanitarian needs of the Dominican Republic as well as the incredible generosity of Cigar Family members, Carlos Fuente Jr. developed the concept for the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. "I needed to find a way to give back to the Dominican Republic and the Dominican people," said Fuente.

The foundation was established by the Fuente and Newman families in 2001 to help the needy of the Dominican Republic. It has raised more than $450,000 to date from online auctions by Cigar Family members and generous donations from consumers and retailers.

"Our dream of creating a community complex for the people of Caribe is well on its way to becoming a reality," said Eric Newman, president, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. "And we will be able to follow the development of this project through the new Cigar Family Charitable foundation website that will go online in the near future."

Unlike many not-for-profit charities, 100% of every dollar contributed to the CFCF goes directly to charitable purposes. All administrative, legal, accounting, Internet, and other marketing costs are completely underwritten by the Newman and Fuente Families.

CFCF is a 501(c)(3) charitable, tax-exempt organization. Donations are welcome at any time, and may be sent to Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, P.O. Box 2030, Tampa, Fl. 33601.

Value of Smokers' Accessories Imports Fell 2.0% in 2002 to $153.7 million

The value of tobacco accessory product imports to the U.S. for domestic consumption totaled $153.7 million in 2002. This figure was $3.1 million, or two percent, less than the 2001 total of $156.8 million.

For the first four months of 2003, the value of accessory product imports for consumption totaled over $60.1 million, up almost $12.1 million (25.1 percent) more than the comparable 2002 figure of over $48.0 million.

Imports of pocket lighters less than $5 per dozen in year-to-date 2003 totaled over 15.5 million dozen, valued at nearly $17.0 million, down 16.4 percent (over 3.0 million dozen) in volume, but up almost 8.1 percent (over $1.2 million) in value from the comparable 2002 figures of nearly 18.6 million dozen, valued at over $15.4 million.

Imports of pocket lighters greater than $5 per dozen totaled almost 1.6 million dozen, valued at over $8.7 million in the first four months of 2003, up 83.5 percent in volume and over 23.1 percent in value when compared to like 2002.

Year-to-date, imports of cut cigarette papers accounted for over 32.1 percent of the total accessory products import value, or nearly 4.1 million kilograms valued at over $19.3 million, up 20.7 percent in volume and almost 43.8 percent in value from the comparable like 2002 figures of almost 3.4 million kilograms, valued at over $13.4 million.

Uncut cigarette paper imports totaled nearly 4.6 million kilograms, valued at over $12.1 million year-to-date, up almost 20.8 percent in volume and over 29.3 percent in value compared to the same 2002 period.

For the first four months of 2003, imports of briar and wood pipes fell nearly 45.7 percent in volume and over 17.2 percent in value when compared with like 2002, while imports of briarroot rough in blocks increased 0.2 percent in volume and almost 6.4 percent in value when compared to the same 2002 period.

Imports of clay pipes and other materials year-to-date rose nearly 64.2 percent in volume and 116.2 percent in value when compared to the same four month period in 2002.

Compay Segundo dies at 95

Veteran Cuban guitarist and singer Compay Segundo, who gained worldwide fame and a Grammy award late in life as the frontman for the Buena Vista Social Club, died of kidney failure on July 14 at his home in Havana. He was 95.

Born M‡ximo Francisco Repilado, Segundo first played clarinet as a young man and later become an accomplished guitarist and singer known for a deep baritone voice. For years, Segundo was a well known musician in Cuba, performing as the "second voice" in his duo, Los Compadres and playing with many top Cuban acts of the day. But following the Cuban revolution in 1959, Segundo disappeared from the music world, working as a cabinet maker, hairdresser, actor, and cigar roller at the H. Upmann factory.

He returned to music in the late 1980s, performing in Europe and recording several albums. But his fame grew even wider with the release of American producer Ry Cooder's Buena Vista Social Club, an album of traditional Cuban "son" featuring Segundo other forgotten Cuban musicians in 1996. The hit album gained worldwide attention and won a Grammy Award in 1997. A widely praised documentary of the recording sessions was subsequently released under the same name.

In recent years, Segundo was a regular at Cuba's cigar festivals - he was said to have started smoking cigars at age five. Habanos S.A. released a special Montecristo Compay 95th Anniversary Humidor in commemoration of his 95th birthday, containing double-banded cigars bearing his picture.

Tampa Celebrates its History as "Cigar Capital of the World" at Annual Cigar Heritage Festival

Tampa - On November 8, 2003, Tampa's Latin Quarter Ybor City will host the 7th Annual Tampa Cigar Heritage Festival. The one-time "cigar capital of the world" traces its cigar heritage to 1886 when Cuban cigar manufacturer Don Vicente Martinez Ybor moved his factory to Tampa. Soon, Cuban, Spanish, Italian, and German immigrants came to work in Ybor's city, creating a vivacious multi-cultural neighborhood.

At Ybor City's peak in the 1920s, 121,000 cigar workers in Tampa's 200 factories churned out 700 million cigars a year.

A celebration of Ybor City and Tampa's cigar past and present, the Cigar Heritage Festival will feature live music, food, drinks, and plenty of cigars. WFLA 970 AM Radio's Cigar Dave will broadcast his "Smoke This" show live from the festival. The festival draws 12,000 attendees annually.

The Cigar Heritage Festival will take place at Centennial Park, opposite the Ybor City Museum State Park, where five cigar workers homes have been relocated for a museum expansion that will recreate a streetscape from the "cigar city's" heyday when complete this summer.

SMOKESHOP - August, 2003