Recently in tobacco news, the Cigar Association of America, the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association and Cigar Rights of America sued the Food and Drug Administration, FDA commissioner Robert Califf MD, the Department of Health and Human Services, as and their secretary Sylvia Burwell. Cigar manufacturers and retailers are claiming that a new tax introduced by Food and Drug Administration threatens to destroy their industry and puts unrealistic demands on independent tobacconists. They go on to claim that this new tax violates The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, which introduced regulations on all tobacco products under the Food, and Drug Administration’s control.
The complaint argues that this tax subjects cigars to far more severe regulatory restrictions than cigarettes and chewing tobacco, which will be a huge burden for thousands of small tobacconists to bear. Even small shops who outsource their products in bulk will be regarded as “manufacturers.”
Figure 1: Medium-Full Bodied Cigars
The complaint alleges that this tax is "an unlawful final rule” that “threatens the sale of any cigars, pipe tobacco, and associated products.” They go on to state that this latest law is "contrary to the language and purpose of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, the basis of FDA's authority to regulate tobacco products.”
This comes on the heels of another regulation requiring all cigar packaging and advertisements to display six warnings despite there being no evidence to prove such precautions are necessary or even useful.
Figure 2: Alec Bradley Texas Lancero
The current bill permits premium cigars to be dealt with differently from other tobacco products, however, the FDA has stated that they do not believe there is any justification to exclude premium cigars from the final ruling, emphasizing the fact that cigars contain harmful elements as well as nicotine.
The Cigar Association of America is an organization of companies from all sectors of the industry, while the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association are the proud representatives of more than 2,000 family-owned small businesses.