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Stogie Guys Friday Sampler CLXXXVII

30 Apr 2010

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post a mixed bag of quick cigar news and other items of interest. We call ‘em Friday Samplers. Enjoy.

FDA Badge1) When President Obama signed the “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act” last summer, many viewed the FDA’s newfound authority over tobacco as a cigarette issue. The law, after all, doesn’t automatically apply to cigars (as it does to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco). Instead, it requires the bureaucracy to issue a specific regulation bringing cigars under its purview. This week the FDA signaled its intention to do so in June. If the proposed rule is adopted, cigar makers, retailers, and consumers worry the government will tightly restrict cigar marketing and events, as well as require cigar “ingredient disclosure”—a move that would cost manufacturers huge sums of money in testing and documentation and likely restrict innovation.

2) Politicians in Mobile, Alabama, are considering a law that would be a new frontier for anti-smoking zealotry. The proposed legislation would empower health inspectors to deduct points from businesses that allow smoking, even though there is no scientific basis for the punitive measure. As Chris McCalla of the IPCPR points out, “The fact is that OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] has set safe levels for smoking that are up to 25,000 times higher than normally found in an average bar or restaurant that allows smoking.”

3) Inside the Industry: Scandinavian Tobacco and Swedish Match will merge their cigar operations later this year, bringing CAO, General Cigar, and retailer Cigars International under one roof. In an effort to lower its prices, United Tobacco—maker of 601, Cubao, and Murcielago—is parting ways with distributor Miami Cigar & Company. Meanwhile, in celebration of Miami Cigar & Company’s founding in 1989, the Nestor Miranda Collection is adding a new blend in three sizes: “1989” will be a Nicaraguan puro made by Don Pepin Garcia that will sell for just $5.

4) Around the Blogs: Stogie Review reviews a Rocky Patel Decade Edición Limitada. Keepers of the Flame fires up a La Aurora 1495. Nice Tight Ash checks out a Viaje Skull and Bones. Tiki Bar kicks back with a Liga Privada Flying Pig. Cigar Inspector inspects a Camacho Triple 11/18.

5) Deal of the Week: Last call for Tax Day Specials at Cuban Crafters. There are a number of deep discounts on our favorites like the Cupido Tuxedo, J.L. Salazar, Cubano Claro, and Miami Medina. Our favorite deal is a box of 25 Don Kiki Brown Label Torpedos for just $55. Grab yours here.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: SCS

3 Responses to “Stogie Guys Friday Sampler CLXXXVII”

  1. Craig Childs Friday, April 30, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    While I'm against new FDA regulations on marketing of cigars, I'm not sure why "ingredient disclosure" would be such a bad idea. Personally, I'd like to know which cigar-makers use dyes and/or vegetable stains to darken the color of their maduro wrappers.

  2. Patrick S Friday, April 30, 2010 at 9:40 am #


    If ingredient disclosure was as simple as 100% tobacco leaf (if that's all a cigar contains), then it wouldn't be so objectionable.

    The problem is that isn't what the FDA has in mind. More likely they'll want to know what chemicals are in the cigar and exactly how much.

    The process of testing that is expensive and time consuming. I've heard that only Altadis has the equipment that would be necessary (and maybe also General Cigar and La Aurora).

    Not only will the costs raise the price of cigars, but burden of the testing/approval regime could massively stifle the development of new blends. Instead of being able to experiment, and constantly tweak blends, cigar makers would hesitate to create new products because that would involve more testing and approval. They would limit the sizes of each blend produced, because each new size would require more approval.

    In short, all the innovation we've enjoyed in the industry would screech to a halt while FDA bureaucrats would need to approve every new blend and size.

  3. Mike Friday, April 30, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    The cigar rules have not been proposed yet. I'm not sure they'll be the same as for cigarettes. The industries are not the same burden (Altais and General are the closest thing to "Big Tobacco" in the industry).

    Handmade cigars have never been chemically doctored like cigs and most are unflavored and all but the cheapest are sold in adult-only stores.

    I'd expect the first thing the FDA would look at are the flavored, filtered "little cigars." But to do that, they have to go through a years-long process.

    I think the publishing of the proposal in June is just the first step. Lawsuits could delay it further.

    If the rules end up like Canada's, long in place, they have not altered the makeup of handmade cigars at all.

    That said, I am surprised they are starting rulemaking already. The cigarette regs are still in court and just rolling out.