Congressmen Press FDA For Action On Premium Cigars
Yesterday, Congressman Dan Meuser (R-PA) and Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr. (D-LA) submitted a formal letter to the heads of the FDA and the Center for Tobacco Products calling on the agencies to account for a lack of progress in addressing the recommendations made by a 2022 report on premium cigars. The report, entitled Premium Cigars: Patterns of Use, Marketing and Health Effects, was produced last year by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, known as NASEM, via a study commissioned by the FDA and the National Institutes of Health. Among its notable findings and conclusions, the report stated that more research was required to adequately distinguish premium cigars from other tobacco products, which the two Congressman say the FDA has failed to follow through on, or at very least, present their findings.
Congressman Meuser expressed his frustration and concern about the FDA’s process of due diligence while it continues to push further regulation upon the premium cigar industry. "The FDA has a responsibility to ensure that all regulation it promulgates is based on sound scientific evidence and meets Congress’ intent. Unfortunately, they continue to try and regulate without doing proper due diligence. These are predominantly small businesses, many of them in my district, and their supply chain deeply affects our trading partners abroad," said Meuser.
Troy A. Carter Sr., the representative from Louisiana, echoed Meuser’s sentiments: “The FDA asked for NASEM to study the question of premium cigars. The FDA should follow through with the recommended research that NASEM called for before attempting to enact new regulations that would affect this industry.”
The 2022 NASEM Report produced a number of notable findings pertaining to the public health impact of the premium, handmade cigar industry and other tobacco products. Among its most salient points, the report made a specific distinction between usage patterns of premium, handmade cigar smoking and that of cigarettes, cigarillos and non-premium cigars, and the reduced health risks associated with such consumption. You can read more on the report’s findings here.
In their letter, Meuser and Carter Sr. also ask for the FDA to detail what steps they’ve taken to consider the side effects continued regulation will have, specifically on small businesses across the country and the economic impact on handmade cigar producing nations vulnerable to be adversely affected by potential regulatory policies.
The Premium Cigar Association has also stated its willingness to work with the FDA and the Center for Tobacco Products on conducting further research based on empirical scientific evidence and urges the agencies to take action on the recommendations put forth in the NASEM Report before enacting additional regulatory measures.
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