The FDA is going through the comments now and last week in talking with Glynn Loope about the comments submitted, he told me that on the last day the Cigar Rights of America group delivered about 40 pounds of letters. Yup, the old fashioned pre-Internet kind on paper, not electronic. That is a lot of letters from cigar smokers and is a good thing. Loope says the CRA is drafting another letter for consumers to send to Congress. Yes there still is a way to stop this, via Congressional action. (This is an election year after all.)
In the meantime, Florida’s Attorney General gets a pat on the back. Pam Bondi wrote into the FDA to say she thinks they are overdoing it. Unfortunately she was alone.
Bondi’s letter was separate from a letter signed the same day by 29 other attorneys general that implored the FDA to make the proposed regulations even stronger, particularly in regard to electronic cigarettes
Bondi said the FDA should consider the economic impact of what it is doing. (Remember it already has put people in San Antonio out of work when Finck’s cigar factory closed and I doubt there is much call for cigar makers in Texas anymore.) Bondi is concerned that J.C. Newman in Tampa would have to cease its manufacturing in that city.
“This 119-year-old premium cigar company with 130 employees is truly unique in this industry and should not be regulated in the same manner as the nation’s largest cigarette companies,” Bondi wrote on Friday, the deadline for submissions on the federal plan.
Florida’s Senators also have been involved.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., have requested an exemption to the new rules for companies that don’t mass-produce cigars, such as J. C. Newman. The FDA is already considering an exemption for premium cigars that are handmade. J.C. Newman uses vintage machines.
We’ll see how this plays out.