Cigar Aficionado

Cigar Fight Goes to the White House

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.

"The government needs to stay out of humidor, liquor cabinet, gun cabinet, and away from my faith! This administration is 2 steps away from turning the United States into the Soviet Union. " —May 11, 2012 10:09 AM
"4/25/12, Not everything from Cuba is superlative; often, you'll get counterfeits in the US. Counterfeits can be of excellent quality, they're just not what you think they are & therefore overpriced. While many are distracted w/FDA, keep an eye on the anti-smoking patriarch, Mayor Bloomberg. He now wants to butt his nose into private residences to create a smoke policy." —April 25, 2012 01:13 AM
"19291. 5706 still needed" —April 21, 2012 17:17 PM
"#14,082 :) (from england)" —April 19, 2012 13:40 PM
"#13,476 !!" —April 18, 2012 14:55 PM
"Wife and I are signing now!" —April 17, 2012 21:31 PM
"Both my wife and I signed this petition. Don't forget to have your significant other sign as well!!" —April 16, 2012 20:17 PM
"I'm a Canadian wanting to sign the petition to help the cause, but it won't let me. Is there any other way to support the petition?" —April 16, 2012 12:45 PM
"want to help to lower the drinking age in the US? I also made a petition on so after you sign the cigar petition follow this link and sign this one too. let's use our right that is given to use in the first amendment!" —April 16, 2012 11:28 AM
"There is no issue more important facing cigars lovers. Take the time to protect your rights. " —April 14, 2012 20:03 PM
"I signed and everyone who smokes cigars, reads CA, or visits this website should as well. Our lack of taking action is what got us here, and now it is time to prevent this from going too far." —April 14, 2012 18:19 PM
"I signed, I am a consumer. The bad debate from the other side is we are infringing on other peoples rights to enter a bar. If the name on the door says cigar bar, and u do not smoke or do not want second hand smoke do not go in. your choice" —April 14, 2012 11:22 AM
"Unfortunalely I am an European smoker. Otherwise I would sign it immediately. Tomas, Czech Republic" —April 14, 2012 09:44 AM
"Fight every inch. These guys never stop once they start. In Australia the proposal is to sell all tobacco in plain packaging! It is difficult to find anywhere to smoke a nice cigar these days." —April 13, 2012 18:01 PM
"I signed, and I am a member of the CRA. Everyone here should be." —April 13, 2012 16:29 PM
"This is a happy news for Cuba, my first sentence might surprise you but you will see this is a political scam from Washington. They already decided to finish Cuban ambargo but they are tryng to benefit out of it by raising taxes on cigars. " —April 13, 2012 16:05 PM
"I signed, did you? Perhaps more importantly, are you a member of CRA? If you are reading this, you should be." —April 13, 2012 15:55 PM
"Unfortunately, the agenda of the current administration is to beef up the powers of the government and one tool to accomplish this is the FDA. They don’t see you as enough of an adult to make your own personal decisions. You need protection from yourself. They don’t care about jobs, fairness, the law, or cigars." —April 13, 2012 09:17 AM