The Orange Bowl has abandoned plans to go forward with a sponsorship deal with Camacho Cigars beginning this year. Apparently this was as a result of pressure from U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (IL), Frank Lautenberg (NJ) and Richard Blumenthal (CT). All apprently made a plea to the NCAA and the Orange Bowl stating that tobacco has no place in sports. With so much of the premium tobacco industry based in South Florida, this is a slap in the face by a huge sporting event based in the backyard of the cigar industry.
There is a note of hypocrisy in this whole equation. Sponsors of the Orange Bowl include Bacardi, Stella Artois Beer, and Corona Beer. Most college students are not of the age of twenty-one. For those who are twenty-one and old enough to purchase alcohol, they run they risk of possibly overdrinking – and if they get behind the wheel of a car, they run the risk to others. Nobody seems to look the other way when it comes to alcoholic beverage companies, but yet premium tobacco is considered bad. This is not an indictment on alcoholic beverages involved in sports sponsorship. Alcohol and tobacco are both legal products that should be used in moderation. In a free market economy, companies of both alcohol and tobacco should be allowed to advertise. The precedent set by the Orange Bowl amplifies a trend that premium tobacco will be able to effectively market their product.
With Durbin, Lautenberg, and Blumenthal also pleading with the FDA to ban flavored tobacco, cigar enthusiasts have three powerful people in Washington bent on destroying the cigar industry. I encourage all cigar enthusiasts to express their displeasure about this decision by the Orange Bowl and the actions of the Senators above. I personally will not be watching or supporting the Orange Bowl.