Stogie Guys Free Newsletter

Subscribe today for a chance to win great cigar prizes:


Presented by:

Stogie Commentary: Tell ’Em What You Think

22 Dec 2009

A common complaint among cigar smokers is that elected officials and government leaders don’t listen to them. Well, here’s a chance to easily get your thoughts before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as  the  bureaucracy considers how to implement its recently granted control over tobacco.

The process is relatively simple. Just go to this page and follow the instructions to input your comments. Before doing that, though, you should read about the process. That’s easy, too. Visit this page on FDA.gov and you’ll find links to the notice in the Federal Register and commentary from the FDA on tobacco regulation.

The IPCPR, in a recent release, had “talking points” you might find helpful. I’ve reproduced them below, with permission. Cigar Rights of America has also issued talking points for cigar smokers, but I urge you not to copy your comments from another source.  Use your own words to express your own opinions. Thoughtful, polite, and concise individual comments always carry more weight. The deadline for public comment is Dec. 28.

You might also want to send a copy of your comments–with a brief explanatory note–to your Senators and Representative. You’ll find their contact information here and here. Even though they’re not currently directly involved, I think it’s good to take every opportunity to let them know how you feel. When it comes to elected officials, personal letters are more effective than emails.

One point to remember is that the current law does not explicitly include cigars and pipe tobacco. To do so would require hearings, though it wouldn’t require new legislation. But one of the aims is to attack under-age smoking, and “little” cigars and mass-produced cigars–particularly flavored ones–are often enmeshed in that effort. So, it couldn’t hurt to voice your views now.

IPCPR Suggested Talking Points

— Congress recognized the fact that cigars and pipe tobacco do not pose the same public health concerns as the tobacco products outlined for regulation. FDA needs to recognize this important distinction as it implements the Tobacco Act.

— Flavored cigarillos are manufactured and marketed to only adults, as is premium cigar tobacco, and should remain as a legal adult choice product.

— Kids don’t smoke tobacco pipes; pipe smoking is an adult activity; there has not been a single study that has indicated any issue with kids smoking tobacco pipes.

— Cigar and pipe consumers have the right to purchase and enjoy flavored premium products just as they have the right to purchase and consume flavored alcoholic spirits and other flavored alcoholic products.

— Because of their artisan nature, origin, and construction, cigars are far different from cigarettes and are not consumed in the same way.

— Cigars are a mature, adult social experience.

— As most cigar and pipe tobacco businesses are owned and operated by small business owners and their families, further regulation will prove burdensome and overwhelming.

— Simply because a product is flavored does not mean it is intended for, or marketed to, children.

— For centuries, pipe tobacco has been flavored to create a wide variety of taste profiles enjoyed by adults.

George E

photo credit: FDA.gov

Drew Estate

9 Responses to “Stogie Commentary: Tell ’Em What You Think”

  1. Rik Tuesday, December 22, 2009 at 8:28 am #

    You might as well help us lowly cigarette addicts fight this oppression because in the eyes of the FDA, tobacco is tobacco and they are none too pleased with any kind of flavored tobacco regardless of whether it is in a cigarette, pipe, or cigar. You are falling into their 'Divide and Conquer' trap. If we do not hang together we will most assuredly hang alone. At best, your pleadings will only make the cigar and pipe smokers the last ones to swing from the tree, but swing you will.

  2. George E. Tuesday, December 22, 2009 at 10:01 am #

    Personally, I have nothing against cigarette smokers and don't object to it. I smoked cigarettes myself for decades. But smoking cigarettes is a different activity than smoking cigars or pipes. And, while you are correct that anti-smokers pretty much lump all tobacco together, it's also necessary to fight the battles that are before us. This particular issue — FDA regulation of cigarettes — has been decided. The questions now are related to implementation and I would urge cigar and pipe smokers, as well as cigarette smokers, to make their views known.

  3. Patrick S Tuesday, December 22, 2009 at 10:17 am #

    Rik-

    I agree that the entire bill is wrong, but how is it "divide and conquer" when cigar smokers do there best to keep the awful provisions imposed on cigarettes from being expanded to cigars?

    Congress explicitly ordered the FDA to regulate cigarettes while leaving the question unanswered for cigars and pipes. Would you have cigar smokers welcome the very same regulation that you despise for cigarettes?

    I opposed the entire bill, and would welcome and support its repeal no matter the status of cigars under the FDA at the time. Just because I smoke cigars and not cigarettes, doesn't make me anti-cigarette.

  4. Marc E Tuesday, December 22, 2009 at 10:50 am #

    A fine job you guys have done here in listing the talking points and contact details. I hope every cigar smoker who visits this site takes action.

  5. Rik Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 3:16 am #

    Patrick-

    The point I am trying to make is this:

    We have a common enemy that is referred to as 'anti-smoking' or 'anti-tobacco'. They are not called 'anti-cigarette'. They loathe the use of tobacco in any form whether it's smoked or chewed. Cigar and pipe smokers seem to think they can curry favor with these zealots by distancing themselves from cigarette users. It will not work. They are going to come after you as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow. The FDA regulations you are seeing for cigarettes is an exact preview of what is in store for cigars and pipe tobacco.

    Something else you may not be aware of. This health care bill currently working its way through Congress allows and recommends that insurance companies charge smokers an extra 50% (that's huge) on their premiums. Rest assured they will not make an exception for connossieurs of fine cigars.

  6. Rik Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 3:44 am #

    The impression I get (correct me if I'm wrong) is that cigar and pipe smokers are saying "Fine, regulate the cigarettes but leave us alone because we are different".

    You should be adamantly opposing the FDA regulation of cigarettes because it is a portender of what's to come for smokers of all stripes.

  7. Rik Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 3:49 am #

    I stand corrected. Of course you are well aware of the 50% increase for smokers.

  8. dmjones Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 8:38 am #

    Rik,

    I agree that opposition to the entirety of the FDA's current crusade is necessary, but to make any real change, there will need to be regime change in Washington, starting in the 2010 elections. There is no possible way the current Congress will vote to take away tobacco-regulating power from the FDA, so cigar smokers need to work to limit the damage now while hoping for a better future solution.

    You are correct that we can no longer allow cigar/pipe smokers to try to fight a separate battle than cigarette smokers, but there are severe limits to what can be accomplished with Pe-lousy and Dinghy Harry running the show.

  9. George E. Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 1:17 pm #

    Dmjones –

    Don’t mislead yourself that the FDA regulation was a Democratic move. It was approved with bipartisan support in both chambers, in the Senate by 79 to 17 and in the House by 307 to 97. If you’d like to see who voted which way, you can check Thomas. For the Senate: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_l
    For the House: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll335.xml