Tobacconist University
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Thursday, April 3, 2008

University Means University

As we see it, the function of a University is to TEACH, LEARN, & RESEARCH, which is precisely what we do at Tobacconist University. In that process we are endeavoring to support Retail Tobacconists (B&M) and Preserve Luxury Tobacco For Generations To Come. Our educational platforms are absolutely free to consumers, Tobacconists, and the rest of civilization. In addition, we do not accept or allow any advertising, nor do we sell any products. Our Vision is to set the highest Standard of Excellence in Product Knowledge, Appreciation, and Professionalism throughout the Luxury tobacco industry. Our Mission is to Educate & Certify the most knowledgeable and honorable tobacco connoisseurs in the world. We even have a Code of Ethics & Standards for our Certified Tobacconists, and we expect it to be honored, or else…
All of this is completely new to our industry and it usually takes people a while to comprehend what we are doing: ‘invest in education?’, ‘train Tobacconists?’, ‘what is a Tobacconist?’, etc… Many people can’t even pronounce the word Tobacconist, much less understand its significance. The reason it has taken over a decade to get to this point is because we are serious about our profession, industry, and building credibility. Tobacconist University is a value-proposition for a new generation. Perhaps it is the confluence of smoking-bans, hyper-taxation, and societal condemnation that requires such a distinctive institution. Or maybe it was long overdue: the first Sommelier organization did not open in America until 1954. Regardless of the reasons, OUR TIME HAS COME. We are currently Certifying Tobacconists through our Pilot Programs in over twenty States; and our growth will be organic and exponential.
With that said… I would like to officially proclaim my disdain with any company, either manufacturer, distributor, or retailer, who uses the words “College” or “University” in their name or web domain to lure customers while offering little or no substantive education. This shameful ploy has become more prevalent in our industry and it is truly disingenuous.
Every great Tobacconist I have ever known has sacrificed income and time to pursue their own passions, and then shared of themselves without hesitation. I can promise you that every Certified Tobacconist, including current Apprentices, have gone to extraordinary lengths to educate themselves and meet our highest standards; Standards which exist to honor this extraordinary industry and its consumers. In fact, a Certified Tobacconist, by definition [or default], is making sacrifices and giving of their time simply because it is the right thing to do: there is no paycheck or product at the end of our journey. Certification is the manifestation of great passion and conviction! So, rather than just condemn greedy, shady, and disreputable merchants, I would like to personally congratulate all of our current, past, and future Certified Tobacconists for ‘walking the walk’. Ultimately, when we say we are Certified, it means something; and we are called Tobacconist University because that says it all.
“The great aim of education is not knowledge but action”
- Herbert Spencer

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