“My name is Jacob Panther. I’m from Russellville, Arkansas. I’ve been in the army for two years now and am on my first deployment.
I started smoking cigars with my dad when I was 16.”
Sharing a cigar with your dad. Or fishing buddies. Or herf. It’s something you might take for granted—dipping into that humidor, lighting up smokes on a Saturday night and solving the world’s problems.
But if you actually fight the world conflicts, you often can’t get your hands on a Padrón, Tatuaje or Southern Draw. And damn, isn’t that when you could really use a good cigar? Clear your mind. Get a taste of home. Kick back with the people who have your back.
OPERATION: CIGARS FOR WARRIORS GETS SMOKES TO THOSE IN ACTION
Since 2012, Operation: Cigars for Warriors (OP: CFW) has shipped donated cigars to deployed military men and women in active combat zones. Nearly one million cigars have been donated to U.S. servicemen and women as of April 2019.
For decades, cigar brands could give away cigars to military members. Many cigar brands donated smokes to OP: CFW. Since August 2016, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations have prohibited cigar brands from donating cigars to troops.
“The FDA ban on manufacturers cut our supply roughly 80%. But the ban hasn’t decreased the demand.”-Robert Allan, OP: CFW Director of Operations
FREEDOM FOUND: CIGARS INTERNATIONAL GETS CREATIVE TO SUPPORT THE TROOPS
From the get-go, Cigars International supported OP: CFW. But how could CI give to the men and women in combat zones AND comply with the FDA ruling?
Two words: gift cards.
The online retailer donated $80,000 in CI GIFT CARDS to OP: CFW in February 2019. Now military member can use that gift card to purchase cigars and cigar accessories on cigarsinternational.com.
“With this latest donation of gift cards, Cigars International is taking their support of the charity and our deployed troops to the next level, and setting an example for the rest of the industry,” Storm Boen, OP: CFW Chairman and CEO of Operation said.
Now it’s time for other online cigar retailers, brick-and-mortars and cigar brands to follow CI’s lead. Get creative with giving to those who fight for our freedom. Brainstorm over a good cigar—great ideas always start over a great cigar.
HERE’S HOW TO GET CIGARS TO THOSE WHO SERVE
The FDA ruling does not prevent cigar lovers from donating cigars to the troops. OP: CFW is a 501 (c) (3) charity, so your donation is tax deductible. There are three ways to give:
- Share sticks from your humidor and send those cigars directly to OP: CFW.
- Drop off cigars at any of 200 OP: CFW’s donation sites. Many are in smoke shops, where you can also buy a box and leave it there.
- Or use your credit or debit card to give to OP: CFW, so the nonprofit can buy and ship premium cigars right away.
WHAT CIGAR WOULD YOU WANT IF YOU WERE ON THE FRONTLINE?
IF YOU’D SMOKE IT, SHARE IT WITH SOMEONE FACING COMBAT. “My experience with Operation: Cigars for Warriors so far has been nothing short of fantastic,” SPC Panther said.
“The cigars y’all provided were some high-quality stogies. I’m a big fan of Oliva and Excalibur cigars. My favorite blend would have to be a Maduro.”– Army SPC Jacob Panther
HERE’S HOW YOUR DONATION HELPS CIGAR-LOVING SERVICE MEMBERS
- Troops serving in active combat zones request a OP: CFW cigar care package.
- Boveda fans donate premium cigars or money to the nonprofit.
- OP: CFW packs up the donated premium cigars with Boveda and sends them overseas to the awaiting cigar lovers.
BOVEDA PROTECTS CIGARS EVEN IN COMBATIVE CONDITIONS
Boveda travels in every OP: CFW cigar care package. The humidity control packet eliminates fluctuating RH levels, which affects a cigar’s flavor. And Boveda ensures premium cigars never dry out or mold—even in the desert or at sea.
“Without the support we receive from Boveda, we would have a much more difficult time ensuring that the cigars arrive in good condition,” Nathan Deily, OP: CFW Director of Public Relations said.
“Boveda’s humidification technology is robust enough to deal with the cigars’ prolonged time in transit and difficult environmental conditions.”– Nathan Deily, OP: CFW Director of Public Relations
FILL THE BOXES, GIVE TO OP: CFW NOW
In March 2019, 77 OP: CFW Care Packages containing 1,925 premium cigars were outbound to troops serving in combat zones.
Boveda fans, make sure cigar-loving service members gets smokes—donate to OP: CFW.
SHARE A SMOKE WITH A TECH SARGE
MEET OPERATION: CIGARS FOR WARRIORS