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Stogie News: More Congressional Tobacco Shenanigans

2 Aug 2007

As if massive tobacco tax increases weren’t enough, a Senate panel voted yesterday to subject tobacco products to regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The move would give FDA bureaucrats the ability to regulate tobacco as well as tobacco advertisements, a power both current and former FDA Commissioners don’t even want, citing limited resources and the fact that regulating tobacco as a “drug” the same way it regulates pharmaceutical drugs doesn’t fit into the FDA’s mission – potentially jeopardizing the health of cigarette smokers.

But while the health bureaucrat-types oppose FDA regulation of tobacco, an unlikely coalition supports it. Altria/Philip Morris, the world’s largest tobacco company, and anti-smoking groups teamed up to push FDA oversight. Both want to cut back the ability of tobacco companies to exercise their first amendment right to advertise their legal products, but for different reasons.

Altria/Phillip Morris knows that without the ability to advertise, its competitors can never challenge its dominance of the cigarette market. Meanwhile, anti-tobacco groups see pharmaceutical-style FDA regulation of advertisements a step towards the FDA declaring all tobacco products unsafe and thus prohibited.

In an interesting twist, the law forbids the FDA from certifying that some forms of tobacco are safer than others, despite a mountain of evidence. This means smokeless tobacco or cigar manufacturers cannot tell consumers that their products are safer than cigarettes even if such claims are empirically proven.

So how does this law affect cigar smokers?

Besides being another step down the road to complete tobacco prohibition, FDA regulation may mean substantially limited advertising of cigars in magazines like Cigar Aficionado, Smoke Magazine, and Cigar Magazine, and also potentially on websites such as this one.

In addition to harming publications that rely on advertising, such Draconian rules threaten to stifle the recent streak of innovation that has been seen in the premium cigar market, as introducing new products often requires an advertising campaign to inform potential consumers.

More drastically, future FDA regulation may mean the removal or reduction of certain chemicals – such as nicotine – from tobacco products. For cigar makers that simply roll together leaves with naturally occurring chemicals, the regulation of certain chemicals would spell the end for the entire handmade cigar industry.

Patrick S

Tags: cigars

9 Responses to “Stogie News: More Congressional Tobacco Shenanigans”

  1. Robby Thursday, August 2, 2007 at 8:03 am #

    Who actually votes for these assholes?

  2. Cigars & Tobacco Thursday, August 2, 2007 at 8:22 am #

    We all voted for them because they lie to us. The current politicians are stealing our money and the laws they make have nothing to do with our safety. It's strictly about money. It's sad. It's time for a revolution of sorts, guys.

  3. furious Thursday, August 2, 2007 at 8:35 am #

    I see great black market possibilities here.

  4. Cigar Jack Thursday, August 2, 2007 at 9:06 am #

    I see Non-Cuban cigars coming into the USA just like Cuban Cigars do. Through overseas internet orders.

  5. ironmeden Thursday, August 2, 2007 at 8:07 pm #

    I like the idea of a Boston Tea Party revolt. But cigars smokers need a leader! Who will it be? I know Cigar Dave is very vocal about this, but us cigar smokers have a limited voice in this process. Most are casual smokers, but people like us who have websites and are dedicated to the cause try to update them on the fight.

    I've said this many times, who will stand up and not just talk about our cause but scream it out!

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