February 2024

The Stockholm-based private membership cigar club cigarklubben has send a cease and desist to a plethora of brands, both big and small, to stop their activities on the Swedish market.

Cigarklubben has been around since 2012, under different names and different management but it offers a place to smoke for its members. With plenty of restrictions though, as no food or drink can be consumed in the smoking room and entertainments (TV or radio) is prohibited too.

The club claims to be very open, but when you read the membership rules you see that the club is not very friendly to non-Swedish speakers. If you are an expat living in Stockholm and don’t speak Swedish, you cannot apply for a full membership, since all documents are in Swedish and the club does not provide a version in English or any other language (As stated on their own website).

Cease & Desist

Several cigar companies, ranging from big names such as Arturo Fuente, Rocky Patel, EPC, Perdomo and Davidoff to boutique brands such as Caldwell, HENK, and CigarKings have received a letter or a mail from this club, to cease and desist their activities on the Swedish market.  You can read the letter, translated from Swedish, below:

Cigarrklubben | www.cigarrklubben.se | info@cigarrklubben.se 08-12131010 | Skeppsbron | Gamla Stan

Sent by letter:

  1. Fuente Holdings, Inc, Fuente Marketing Ltd and its subsidiaries Oettinger Davidoff AG and its subsidiaries

FRATELLO CIGARS

Sent by email only:

CALDWELL CIGARS US

CigarKings GMBH, Co. KG products & CigarKings India Private Limited
Lampert GMBH
FuMe AG (The Selection, Meerapfel)
Paul Bugge GmBH
GESINTA INVEST COMPANY, SLU
Stirling International OÜ (Casdagli Cigars)
Royal Danish
Rocky Patel Premium Cigars
WEST TAMPA TOBACCO
JSKVIRUS INC
Manifatture Sigaro Toscano S.r.l.
SWI-DE, LLC (Drew Estate)
HENK DE.LUXE GMBH
Perdomo Cigars Inc
E.P. Carrillo Cigars
(hereinafter ‘the counterparties’).

Concerning the sale of cigars without authorization, violation of the Marketing Act, etc. It has come to the attention of Cigarrklubben CK Sverige AB (hereinafter CK) that the counterparties are marketing tobacco products to consumers through so-called events at various cigar clubs throughout the Kingdom of Sweden. The events are contrary to legislation. This is done partly through the counterparties’ physical presence but also via a link. It also takes place through social media, through posts or video greetings aimed at the Swedish consumer market.

In connection with these events, cigars are also sold to consumers without temporary retail permits. Only those who have a license to sell tobacco products may do so in Sweden1. There are no exceptions. Selling tobacco products intentionally or negligently can lead to fines or penalties.

1. Act (2018:2088) on tobacco and similar products, chapter 5, section 1.
imprisonment for a maximum of two years.

2. If the crime is serious (such as being part of a professional activity), it can lead to imprisonment for a minimum of six months and a maximum of six years.

3. The fact that cigar clubs are closed societies does not justify an exemption from the licensing requirement for the sale of tobacco or an exemption from the marketing ban. It should be added that the cigar clubs where the counterparties hold events are not to be regarded as closed or private environments since the public is granted access. The smoking ban therefore applies.

4. Marketing of tobacco products is forbidden, there are a few exceptions to the general rule to allow traders to de facto sell tobacco within the framework of what is allowed. This is limited to price lists and information on the origin and nature of the product at the point of sale. It must be done without value judgments. When it comes to the presentation of a tobacco product, it must be done in a neutral and factual manner

5. and without irrelevant elements.

6. In the case of cigars, if the cigar box is visible, it must be closed and the warning text must be visible. Alluding to emotions and moods is prohibited.

7. The presentations have been aimed at attracting particular attention and the in-store arrangements have been intended to be interesting and inviting.

8. Marketing of tobacco products on social media is not allowed. The marketing ban should apply regardless of whether a social media account is public (‘open’) or not. Marketing should also not occur in so-called groups, even if the group is secret or closed. The exception in Chapter 4, Section 2 (2018:2088) on tobacco and similar products, which allows marketing that only consists of providing tobacco products for sale, is in the Swedish Consumer Agency’s opinion only applicable to platforms where it is possible to purchase the products without further steps.

Additional steps do not mean an automated redirection to complete payment, for example via direct payment at a bank. It is currently not considered possible to purchase products on social media without additional steps. For example, linking or referring to a website marketing the products should not be sufficient for the products to be considered as made available for sale. The marketing of tobacco products in social media is thus covered by the marketing ban under the general rule.9 The Swedish Consumer Agency has previously ordered several of your Swedish retailers to cease marketing in violation of the law.

Several of the counterparties’ events contain images of people smoking cigars. Lit cigars can be considered particularly disturbing as they aim to attract special attention10 through 2 Act (2018:2088) on tobacco and similar products, Chapter 10, Section 1.

3 Act (2018:2088) on Tobacco and Similar Products, Chapter 10, Section 1, second paragraph 4 Act (2018:2088) on Tobacco and Similar Products, Chapter 6. 2 §
5 Swedish Consumer Agency’s statute collection KOVFS 2019:3 2.3.1.3
6 Swedish Consumer Agency’s statute collection KOVFS 2019:3 2.3.1.1
7 Swedish Consumer Agency’s collection of regulations KOVFS 2019:3 2.3.1.1
8 Swedish Consumer Agency’s collection of regulations KOVFS 2019:3 2.3.1.3
9 Swedish Consumer Agency’s statute collection KOVFS 2019:3 3.3
10 Swedish Consumer Agency’s statute collection KOVFS 2019:3 2.3.1.3

be particularly prominent11 and are exposed in a way that is intrusive, outreach and encourages the use of tobacco12.

CK estimates that the counterparties are suspected of selling cigars through various Swedish traders who are not registered with the Swedish Public Health Agency13. This mainly concerns odd, older assortments, limited editions, cigars intended for collectors and smaller volumes. Events are also held with the aim of marketing and selling cigars without Swedish warnings.

Furthermore, the counterparties do not fulfill their statutory reporting obligation regarding marketing measures
14. CK has not currently reviewed all the evidence as it is extensive, but already at this stage, a behavior that is systematic and has been going on for several years is apparent. Cigars as gifts, discounted offers, lotteries, free samples, use of tobacco product characteristics and vocabulary are only a limited part of the legal violations that emerge.

You are encouraged to cease any unlawful behavior with immediate effect and to submit measures on how you intend to comply with the law in the future. CK reserves the right to develop claims and take legal action.

Date as above,
Hatem Sabbagh Executive Director
LEGIO Law Firm
Astrid Hjertaker, Lawyer, Swedish Consumer Agency, Josefin P. Jonson, Head of Department, ANDTS
Lotta Persson, Head of Unit, Permit Unit, City of Stockholm, Robert Matt, Tobacco Officer, Municipality of Danderyd
Per-Eric Gällblad, Tobacco Officer, Helsingborg Municipality
11 Konsumentverkets författningssamling KOVFS 2019:3 2.3.1.1 12 Konsumentverkets författningssamling KOVFS 2019:3 2.3.1.3 13 Lag (2018:2088) om tobak och liknande produkter, 2 kap.1-4 § 14 Lag (2018:2088) om tobak och liknande produkter, 2 kap. 5 §
Skeppsbron | Old Town
Malmö City, Contact Center
Filip Eskilsson, Tobacco Officer, Lidköping Municipality
Jönköping Municipality, Contact Center
Varberg Municipality, Contact Center
Örebro Municipality, Contact Center
Pia Gustafsson, Unit Manager, Permit Unit, City of Gothenburg, Johanna Bäckström, Unit Manager, Permit Unit, City of Borås

Cigarinspector.com went through the registration database and all of the brands are registered in the Swedish database and cleared to sell their products on the Swedish market. All of the brands also work with licensed importers and distributors in Sweden.

Out of grudge?

Several sources in Sweden told Cigarinspector that it’s not the first time that the management of Cigarklubben has pulled a stunt like this and that the club, specifically the management of the club, is not well liked in the Swedish cigar scene. The distributors of the brands that have received the letters all have refused to do events with the mentioned brands at the club, and according to our sources that’s the reason why these brands are targeted by the cigar club now.

At least one of the brands has replied and demands to see proof of the claims of cigarklubben or will countersue for slander as it’s against Swedish law to falsely accuse a company without any proof.

1 thought on “Stockholm Based Cigar Club Sends Cease & Desist to Multiple Cigar Brands

  1. i really do hope that everyone understands that this person is NOT representing the Swedish cigar society, this is all done by one man with some kind of personal agenda which no-one fully understand why and for what reason.
    I’m representing Örebro Cigarrförening (Örebro Cigar Society) in Sweden.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/ocfherf

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