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Stogie News: FDA Rules on Cigars Due Soon

27 Jul 2010



I know it has been said before, but FDA regulation of cigars is on the way. On April 26 the FDA published a notice in the Federal Register (Vol. 75, No. 79, Pg. 21794) of intent to regulate cigars under the so-called “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act” passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.

Cigars had originally been excluded from the law, passed in 2009, but the law also allowed for the FDA to come back later and establish regulatory authority over cigars at a later date. The specific language of the notice related to cigars is below:

147. CIGARS SUBJECT TO THE TOBACCO CONTROL ACT

Legal Authority: 21 USC 301 et seq, The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; PL 111–31, The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

Abstract: The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (the Tobacco Control Act) provides FDA authority to regulate cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. Section 901 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as amended by the Tobacco Control Act, permits FDA to issue regulations deeming other tobacco products to be subject to the Tobacco Control Act. This proposed rule would deem cigars to be subject to the Tobacco Control Act and include provisions to address public health concerns raised by cigars.

According to the notice, the FDA should have published a proposed rule in June 2010. At the time of this writing, a proposed rule has not yet been published. So what does all of this mean for the cigar industry? The best way to get some indication of what we can expect is to look at the regulations already in place for cigarettes and the policy reasons behind those regulations.

On June 22, some new restrictions (21 Code of Federal Regulations §1140.1-1140.34) went into effect for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. Among them is a prohibition on distribution of free samples, prohibition on advertising in newspapers and magazines, prohibition on advertising on billboards and posters, and a prohibition on the sale or distribution of clothing or other non-tobacco items bearing the logo, motto, or other identification of a particular brand.

All of these regulations could easily be adopted for cigars. The regulations mentioned above would seriously change the atmosphere at many of the cigar events I have attended, many of which featured free samples and clothing with cigar purchases.

The only way to combat these intrusions is to speak up and be heard. So be sure to join Cigar Rights of America and contact your representatives as appropriate.

-Patrick M

photo credit: FDA

Drew Estate