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Two brothers have decided to start their own cigarette manufacturing company, even in the face of mounting pressure from the health care industry to curb tobacco use worldwide.

The pair claims there’s a demand for a locally made product, at minimizes some of the health risks. “We have local beer, so why not local cigarettes.” Said Cordell Gutierrez, Co-founder of Blacktips cigarettes.

Young entrepreneur Cordell Gutierrez has started up a small business called Blacktips that he knows makes some uneasy

“Tobacco business is a black market and it was very difficult starting it,” said Mr. Gutierrez.

After a year of red-tape from government, Mr. Gutierrez says he did not give up, even though he had to renew his $5,000 tobacco manufacturing license two months after getting approval.

“It was just the fact of owning my own business, it being such a great opportunity, I couldn’t back down,” said Cordell Gutierrez.

“Our tobacco has no additives, no fillers, no chemicals, no preservatives, no nothing put inside the cigarettes,” said Kyle Bang, Operations Manager of Blacktips.

Well-known brands of tobacco cigarettes contain a cocktail of over 500 different chemicals, which business operator Kyle Bang says makes smoking more addictive and deadly.

“You’ll find things like arsenic, chemicals that they use in rat poison, propylene glycol, they’ll use that as a major preservative,” said Kyle Bang.

We spoke to someone who helps people stop smoking through hypnotherapy and other methods Alexandra Stewart. She says even though no chemicals are added to the local brand, the tobacco is not pure.

“Tobacco like any plant needs to be, protected by pesticides and insecticides, so just the consistency of the tobacco leaf, it’s a broad leaf plant and will absorb some of the pesticides and insecticides” said Alexandra Stewart.

“I know it’s a bit controversial, what I ’m doing, having a cigarette manufacturing company in the Cayman Islands, lot of people are, I don’t know if a lot but people are upset.” Said Mr. Gutierrez

But he knows there are those who still need their fix, so he’s hoping they opt for the local brand.

About the author

Philipp Richter

Philipp Richter

Philipp Richter was born in Austria and moved to the Cayman Islands at the age of three. Throughout his life, he has always enjoyed documenting his surroundings with cameras. Studying television broadcasting and communications, he now can show the reality of life in Grand Cayman to the public.

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Kirk Freeport – January 2019
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