House & Senate
Last week, I mentioned the Cigar Rights of America had introduced a bill in the House to keep the FDA out of our humidors. Now there is a Senate companion bill in the hopper.
Folks I cannot stress how important this legislation is. Earlier this month, a piece in Barrons went over all the FDA issues. You know how everyone is excited about the possibility of Cuban cigars coming into the U.S.? Well if the FDA gets its way they will never make it to our shores.
Mitch Zeller, the head of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, stresses that the recent proposal “will allow us to propose further regulatory action on these and yet-to-be-conceived tobacco products.”
THE FDA HAS MADE SCANT EFFORT to understand the cigar industry. It concedes that it has little idea how many small handmade-cigar manufacturers exist in the U.S. and exporting countries. The agency estimates that compliance with the new regs will cost each small manufacturer up to $759,000 initially and another half-million dollars a year. The Small Business Administration’s Advocacy Office protested that the proposed regulations fail to discuss the costs of the proposed rule on many potentially affected small entities. If the new rules are finalized, many, if not most, small cigar producers will be driven out of business.
The Obama anti-tobacco campaign is driven by zealotry, not science. The FDA is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, which is carrying out a “strategic action plan” with “the bold vision of a society free from tobacco-related death and disease.”
The proposed anti-cigar regulations are based on the principle that the feds have moral and legal authority to prohibit any behavior they decree is harmful. As this principle gains ground, the government can consider bans on caffeine, junk food, and other allegedly addictive substances. But there will never be a Federal Register notice on the perils of total subjugation to imperious bureaucrats.
This commentary nails it. One of the only hopes we have is to get Congress to approve the legislation it now has. We have tried twice before, but now there is a new Congress and one that possibly is more agreeable to our plight.
The legislation needs more co-sponsors and needs to move. You can help by contacting your Congressman and Senator. Let them know you smoke cigars and vote. I don’t care if you have done this before, you need to do it again. CRA makes it easy, just go to the website and enter your zipcode. Please do it today.