The fight for the right to enjoy a premium cigar is now on the White House steps.
In their continuing effort to prevent the Food and Drug Administration from regulating premium cigars, the Cigar Rights of America and the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers association have submitted a formal petition to the White House’s “We the People” Internet petition website.
The petition demands that the Obama Administration stops the FDA from regulating the cigar industry. It argues that FDA regulations could mean the loss of 85,000 domestic jobs as well as 250,000 jobs in Latin America. Additionally, the petition notes that cigars are a nonaddictive, adult activity. (For the full version and to sign the petition, click here)
“It’s time for those that simply want to enjoy a great cigar to become a true political constituency,” said Glynn Loope, executive director of the Cigar Rights of America, in a press release. “It’s an election year, and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue need to know that there are thousands of voters, passionate about their cigars, that will vote this fall based upon who will stay out of their humidor. The FDA is controlled by the President’s administration, so it was time to send them a message.”
In order for the Obama Administration to review the petition, 25,000 people must sign it by May 11. So far 3,268 signatures have been gathered, so the CRA and IPCPR are calling for all cigar smokers to support the petition and sign.
The fight against the FDA goes back to 2009, when the FDA was granted full regulatory control of tobacco products like cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco when President Barack Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act into law. The FDA had an immediate impact on the cigarette industry—banning all flavored cigarettes save for menthol, limiting the release of new products, limiting advertising and placing restrictions on the use of words such as "light"—and other tobacco products, however, the cigar industry remained largely unrestricted.
In 2010, the FDA publicly declared its intent to regulate cigars. Rather than wait for potentially industry-threatening legislation to occur, though, the CRA, in conjunction with the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers association, decided to act.
Both pro-cigar organizations have been lobbying members of Congress to support H.R. 1639 and S. 1461, also known as the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Acts, which would, if passed, protect premium cigars from being legislated by the FDA. So far more than 176,000 emails have been sent to Congress, resulting in 160 co-sponsors from the House of Representatives and growing support from the Senate.
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