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Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Bill Aims to Change FDA Predicate Date, New La Aurora, FDA Idiocy, and More

24 Feb 2017

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post our sampling of cigar news and other items of interest from the week. Below is our latest, which is the 519th in the series.


1) According to Cigar Aficionado, U.S. Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK) and Sanford Bishop (D-GA) have introduced a bill that would “change the predicate date of newly regulated tobacco products—including premium cigars—and provide a 21-month grace period for new products seeking FDA approval.” While the so-called Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTC)—the bill giving the FDA the power to regulate cigars—didn’t pass until June 2009, the legislation sets February 15, 2007 as the cutoff date for tobacco products to be grandfathered in as exempt from needing FDA approval before being sold or marketed in the United States. There were hopes the FDA would modify that date, but they did not. As a result, products introduced past that date will be subjected to the FDA approval process. “The bill, known as the ‘FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017,’ would change the predicate date for premium cigars from February 15, 2007 to August 8, 2016, the day the FDA officially took over regulatory control of the cigar industry. The lawmakers have argued that makers of ‘newly deemed’ products have been unfairly required to ‘look back over nine years’ for grandfathered or ‘predicate brands’ that could be used for a Substantial Equivalence application.”

2) As a recent article points out, the FDA, the agency that now regulates handmade cigars, even has trouble applying common sense to food regulation. For example, “foods like nuts and avocados are incredibly healthy for you. However, thanks to the FDA standards, these healthy fats cannot be marketed to consumers as ‘healthy’ products.” Meanwhile, low-fat, but high-sugar, foods like Frosted Flakes cereal and Pop Tarts are considered healthier under the FDA’s definition.

3) La Aurora has announced a new line called ADN Dominicano, which features Andullo tobacco—a leaf that is “hard-to-work” and offers an “inspiring aroma and sweetness.” The rest of the blend includes filler tobaccos from Nicaragua, Pennsylvania, and the Cibao Valley of the Dominican Republic; a Cameroon binder; and a Cibao wrapper. Four vitolas will be available: Churchill, Gran Toro, Robusto, and Toro.

4) Famous Smoke Shop is expanding its exclusive Romeo y Julieta series with a new Habano-wrapped line called House of Verona, which will be available in five vitolas: Churchill, Robusto, Corona, Short Magnum, and Toro. Previous collaborations between Famous and the Altadis-made Romeo y Julieta brand include House of Montague and House of Capulet. Each House of Verona format will retail for about $5 apiece.

5) From the Archives: With another bill to protect cigar rights introduced (see item #1), now is a good time to revisit how to effectively advocate for your rights. Just taking the time to contact your legislators is step one, but once you’ve decided to do it, here are some suggestions for maximizing your effectiveness.

6) Deal of the Week: Mardi Gras is just around the corner, and this Mardi Gras sampler will load you up with ten good smokes for just $30: EPC NWC Selectos de Oro, La Aurora Connecticut Robusto, La Jugada Habano, Casa Magna, Alec Bradley Prensado, Recluse Draconian, Espinosa Alpha Dog, Wild Bunch Crazy Jack, La Palina Oscuro, and Asylum Dragon’s Milk. Act quickly. This deal is likely to sell out, and the cigars would otherwise run you almost $90.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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