FDA Head Talks About Premium Cigar Regulation

FDA Head Talks About Premium Cigar Regulation

Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, told a Congressional subcommittee today in Washington, D.C., that his agency was still “actively engaged” in the process of determining how to regulate premium cigars.

Gottlieb was speaking to the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies in what’s known as a status of operations hearing, where Gottlieb updates congressional members on the FDA’s plans for the year.

Michigan Rep. John Moolenaar, a Republican representing the state's 4th District, asked Gottlieb directly about premium cigars at around 5 p.m.

“Almost a year ago, the FDA announced an advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding regulatory treatment of premium cigars. Can you tell me what the status is of that rulemaking?” said Moolenaar.

“We received a lot of comments, I forget how many in all, but it was a robust administrative record,” Gottlieb said. “We’re continuing to go through those comments, and we will keep you updated. We specifically asked questions around whether or not there were different patterns of use associated with premium cigars that would cause us to consider whether we should regulate them differently than other tobacco products. That was among the questions that we asked. And so, we’re still actively engaged in that rulemaking process.”

Much of the presentation centered around drugs and e-cigarettes, which the FDA is also in charge of regulating. In terms of tobacco, most of the questions were targeted to e-cigarettes, particularly youth access to such products. 

When asked if he would support raising the  federal minimum tobacco age to 21 years, he said:  “We would support that.”