Florida fights FDA

July 16, 2014

We got the 30 day extension for comments to the FDA, and we will most likely need all that time.  But recently the state of Florida is fighting back at the FDA.  Last month, I wrote about one cigar manufacturer who was moving production offshore—Finck in San Antonio.  Now the J.C.Newman company in Tampa is involved in the death match.

Tampa was once home to more than 150 cigar factories but today only one remains, the Newman factory.   While Newman is known for its Cuesta Rey and Diamond Crown cigars in the Dominican Republic , it also makes machine made cigars.  The Newmans have enlisted some help in the form of Florida’s Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

The duo wrote to the head of the FDA a couple of weeks ago, urging an exemption for the Newmans.  The letter cited Tampa’s history as cigar city and said the new FDA regulations will put undue and excessive burdens on the family.

To require these companies to charge $10 for a premium cigar would unnecessarily inhibit future sales. Making matters worse, these artificial price floors only apply to small, family-owned businesses while big tobacco companies are unaffected. In addition, requiring FDA approval for each new size, shape or brand would require upward of 5,000 hours of testing at the company’s expense – a massive burden for a company like J.C. Newman, which simply does not have the financial bandwidth of national cigarette companies that have long incorporated these kinds of requirements into their bottom line.

They ask for an exemption for premium cigar companies…which is different than excluding premium cigars since the Newmans do make the machine products.  Remember to get your testimony in as well.


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