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Historic tobacconist, open for 130 years, fears impact of new plain package law

A DUBLIN store selling premium cigars has "grave concerns" about how it could be affected by the new tobacco packaging legislation.

David McGrane, managing director of James Fox Cigar and Whiskey Store on Grafton Street, said the store has been selling premium cigars for over 130 years. It's a family shop, employing six staff.

"We sell mainly Cuban cigars. The box is an integral part of the Cuban cigar, because on that, it states where it was made, when it was made. It bears the Cuban seal which has security measures on," Mr McGrane told the Herald.

"All of those items alone, dictate that the item is a genuine product," he explained.

"Cigars, like wine, improve with age. We can sell cigars here that are vintage cigars going back to the fifties. The only way that they can be guaranteed that they were made in the fifties is by the seal and the stamps on the box," he said.


However, under the proposed measures, he understands they would not be able to show the customer the box.

He said he was "certainly concerned" about the proposed measures. The labelling on the box proves the authenticity of the product, he said. "The only way to confirm its identity is by its packaging," he said.

He added: "Cigar smoking, it's for a more mature person. It does not appeal to young people, by the taste first of all."

Mr McGrane also pointed out that the cost of cigars, at an average of €10 to €12 each, is not an encouragement to a young person to start smoking. "We don't sell cigarettes," he said. "The people who smoke Havana cigars do it occasionally. It's not like cigarette smoking. It's a luxury item that is consumed by mature people."

For those who want to buy something really special, "you pay anything up to €10,000 for a box of cigars," he added.