Well the comment period is now closed for the FDA’s proposed rule to take over cigars. We don’t know how many were in favor and how many were on our side yet. But the final count was 75,735, which is about 15,000 more than we had at the start of last week. Since the FDA has to look at every comment, figure it will take them about 6 months to go through all of them. Realistically, the FDA is going to do what it wants to do no matter what. So now we sit and wait. I thank those of you who did put in your comments, and as for those who didn’t, well when cigars are gone you only have yourselves to blame.
The other side is not resting…they are continuing their push for regulation of premium cigars. According to an inaccurate report by Bloomberg:
“We know that premium cigars have health risks, they cause cancers they have cardiovascular implications and so on,” Gregg Haifley, associate director of federal relations with the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, said in an interview. “Why should a product that has known disease health consequences be exempt from a factual scientific warning label?”
There are 3,639 types of cigars that would be affected by the proposal, 3,276 of which are made in other countries, according to an economic analysis by the FDA.
The groups want the premium cigar makers to have only one year to file an application to sell their products instead of the 2 years the FDA proposes. For all 3,639 cigars and that doesn’t include what came out this year at the trade show. And I am sure the FDA will get right on that approving them...
Oh the inaccurate part? In the story’s third paragraph it talks about Imperial Tobacco as the owner of Davidoff. Guess the reporter and the anti’s don’t know Davidoff is a separate company. Nice fact checking.
By the way, in Hawaii there is a preview of things to come. Starting July first, the state got rid of self-service for cigars, unless the shop bars anyone under 18 from going in. It is not that much of a problem because there are very few walk-in humidors in the state and the under 18 ban is a way out. But look for the FDA to implement a very similar rule everywhere once they gain control.
So What Now?
There is still something you can do about this…urge your Congressmen and Senators to support HR 792 and SB 772, which would exempt premium cigars from the FDA’s clutches. As of now, there are 162 sponsors and co-sponsors for the House bill and 16 for the Senate version. We need to do better. Write and call your Congressional delegation to be certain they get involved. Even if these bills do not pass this session, the more sponsors we get will get the FDA’s attention. After all, the FDA gets its money from Congress. You can go to the Cigar Rights website to get information on the bills and how to contact your representatives.