Last Call

August 5, 2014

Stop posting pictures of what cigar you smoked or are smoking.  Because if you don’t get busy your cigar days will soon be gone.  We are in the last hours to submit comments to the FDA on its deeming proposal that would bring cigars under its control.  To date, the FDA website shows only 66,000+ comments on the proposed rule.  Now considering not only cigars would come under the FDA, but so too would e-cigs, which don’t even contain tobacco nor emit smoke, and there are by estimates millions of e-cig users, that comment number is pathetic.  To give you an idea, when the Federal Communications Commission called for comments on the so-called net neutrality issue, there were more than a million comments.  Of those 66,000 you can bet many are from the anti side, although the Sunlight Foundation says as of July 18 slightly more than half come from our side.  But then again another 11,000 comments have come in since that report. We still have to do better.

Late last week the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids put out a release saying 17.4 million Americans smoke cigars every day.  (I bet most don’t even know about the FDA actions.  I met a couple of retailers at the trade show who did not know!) What does that mean to the Campaign?  Regulation of course.

“This study shows that cigar smoking is a serious public health problem that must be addressed through strategies such as Food and Drug Administration regulation of all cigars and taxation of cigar products at the same rate as cigarettes.”

The other side wants absolutely no exceptions.  Remember the FDA didn’t want one either, it was the Office of Management and Budget that suggested the option for premium cigars and removed the ban on anything other than face-to-face sales, which would have shut down Internet cigar sales.  That did not make the anti’s happy.

“The part of the proposal we are deeply troubled by is the sweetheart deal for the cigar industry,” Erika Sward, assistant vice president for national advocacy at the American Lung Association.

The campaign also is working hard lobbying medical groups to get on board.

“We oppose any amendment that would interfere with the current rulemaking process, prevent a science-based decision-making process, and place a broad category of cigars beyond the reach of FDA,” said the May 27 letter, which was crafted by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and signed by more than 30 medical organizations. “An amendment to exclude certain types of cigars would prevent FDA from implementing even basic common-sense rules such as requiring manufacturers to report what ingredients are contained in their products.”

The last day for comments on the FDA rules is this Friday August 8th.  If you haven’t done so,  go directly to the FDA site, or reach it through the Cigar Rights site.  I would suggest the FDA stay away from ALL cigars.  Be sure to tell all your friends and make certain your tobacconist knows.  And make sure they submit their comments.

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