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Legislation

Bill Calls for Return of Military Cigar Donations

Sep 9, 2016 | By David Clough
Bill Calls for Return of Military Cigar Donations
Marines enjoying cigars from Operation Deployed, a military care package program that sends cigars to troops serving overseas.

U.S. Representative Kathy Castor, D-Florida, is fighting to get premium cigars back in the hands of American troops. According to Rep. Castor, the FDA's new tobacco rules prohibit cigar companies from donating cigars to U.S. soldiers. Castor is strongly against this ban, and yesterday filed H.R. 5955, a bill that would once again allow for the charitable contribution of premium cigars to U.S. soldiers serving the country around the globe.

"Charitable contributions of traditional, premium cigars to members of the U.S. Armed Forces—a time-honored tradition that dates back to World War 1—were recently swept up and disallowed in the Food and Drug Administration's regulation of a broad range of tobacco products," Castor said in a statement. "I strongly disagree with the FDA's ban on premium cigars as charitable gifts to our troops and as donations to nonprofit organizations that in turn use these donations to support our troops."

The bill Castor is introducing is called the Restore Charitable Contributions of Premium Cigars to the Troops Act.

"In absence of a broader exemption of premium cigars, Congress must act to support our troops and the nonprofit organizations that support them," Castor said. "The FDA's regulation of individually rolled, premium cigars in general is unreasonable and has led to unintentional, but very real consequences, like halting one of the most popular charitable donations to our troops."

Storm Boen, chairman of the nonprofit organization Cigars for Warriors, estimates that premium cigars are the number one most requested item for deployed men and women of the U.S. Armed forces.

"Every month we ship out an average of 25,000 premium cigars and 100 percent of those are requested," Boen said.

Since the FDA's cigar regulations went into effect, Boen says that many manufacturers and retailers have stopped donating cigars to his organization, fearing legal recourse from the FDA. The mission of Boen's nonprofit, as well as many other similar organizations, is to get premium cigars to U.S. troops deployed around the globe.

FDA
"Again, the long arm of the government over extending its reach into our lives. The FDA has taken away even more of my freedoms with this ridiculous law. I have donated cigars to the troops. These guys and gals are protecting us and they should want for NOTHING. If the law is not repealed at least let the companies and individuals thank the troops in such a small way for what they do for us. Thanks" —September 13, 2016 17:35 PM
"You really have to question the FDA thought process or lack thereof. Its okay to be traumatized with the effects of war but they have issue companies and individuals sending our military cigars so they may take a break from the wear and tear that comes with being at war. Just another example of our government monies hard at work!" —September 12, 2016 12:24 PM
"I being a (10)yr veteran I enjoyed getting cigars while I was on deployment. It was a nice little bit of home (US) That I enjoyed, taking the time from all rigen morow to sit back and tune all the noise out of my head I was at peace and enjoying a good smoke. So please let companies go back to donating cigars the military personnel Thank you" —September 11, 2016 13:55 PM

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