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How to Fight FDA Cigar Regulation

May 17, 2016 | By Andrew Nagy
How to Fight FDA Cigar Regulation

The Food and Drug Administration announced its Final Ruling on May 5, and cigar lovers, retail shop owners and manufacturers were understandably outraged. The restrictions the FDA wishes to impose—banning free samples, increasing warning labels on packaging and requiring new blends to undergo a costly, time-consuming approval process, just to name a few—would drastically affect the cigar industry.

The war to keep the government agency from regulating premium cigars may appear all but lost, but there is still a chance to stop it from happening. Your support is needed.

For starters, lovers of the leaf can sign the White House petition created by J. Glynn Loope, executive director of the Cigar Rights of America. The petition calls for the Obama Administration to further review the FDA's ruling and reconsider its decision to heavily regulate premium cigars. In order for the White House to respond the petition needs 100,000 signatures by June 10. Currently, 7,233 people have signed it. You can sign the petition at the following link. (After signing, be sure check your email inbox, including your spam folder, for a verification note to confirm your signature. And don't forget to share the petition to your Facebook and Twitter account for others to see.)

The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers association has also updated its website and opened up its FDA Toolbox section for all to view. There you will find an overview of the FDA regulations, a compliance timeline, and tools under the "Take Action" rubric that make it easy to contact your respective legislators and urge them to support two cigar-friendly bills, H.R. 662 and S. 441. (The CRA also has a similar tool for its new Congressional petition at the following link.)

These bills, known as the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act and introduced last February, amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to exempt traditional large and premium cigars from FDA regulation. Right now, 164 representatives support H.R. 662 as either sponsors or co-sponsors, with 21 senators supporting S. 441. Currently, both bills have been referred to their respective committees.

So whether you are a daily cigar smoker or only enjoy the occasional smoke, act now and join the fight.


"Let us not forget that this ruling affects pipe tobacco as well . I know I do not have to encourage pipe smokers because many of signed petitions, etc. I live in a state with three Democratic legislators. I have been through this before and expect nothing from them except the usual form letter I know cigar smokers have responded but we are really up against it in this fight Why even have a Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms if said bureau has little if anything to day with tobacco ? " —July 5, 2016 14:31 PM
"How would the FDA function if its switchboard and internet servers were brought to collapse by every cigar smoker in the US calling or emailing them at once?" —July 1, 2016 12:06 PM
"Wow, and I thought Canada was extreme. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness? Starting to sound a little hollow.." —June 11, 2016 00:17 AM
"Already signed. Please all do the same or have the government yet again tell us what's good for us. " —May 23, 2016 18:51 PM
"If we could get every B&M owner to put a laptop or ipad with the petition loaded up at their point of sale - customers could sign the petition while they wait to ring them up. I wouldn't be mad at the retailer if they gave customers a discount to encourage this. It's in the B&M's best interest that the public stomp down the FDA. We can't let this S*&T continue to happen to Americans." —May 19, 2016 16:15 PM
"I found that no matter how many times I signed the petition it would not record nor send me a validation of reciept Email" —May 19, 2016 02:40 AM
"Good point, Jason. Products which have been on the market for a long time may be able to take the expedited route (whatever that might mean, given the potential volume). I live in Switzerland but I'm following this closely because where the FDA goes, the rest of the world tends to follow. We've seen what has happened to cigarettes (have you been to Australia?) and I don't want the same thing to happen to cigars." —May 18, 2016 09:51 AM
"You're 100% correct Darryl. It's sad. I spent time deep in cigar country in New England and they were all very aware and active in keeping this issue important. I moved back to LA and the lounge I was GM of literally blew my mind when I discovered that like NOBODY even knew about a proposed FDA regulation...?? Wtf? How is that possible?? I admit that I didn't do enough to remedy that particular situation (informed the guys I knew but I had people to answer to who didn't share the rest of our industries concern) well that time is past now so I owe it to all of us to do something. To make sure ignorance doesn't end up choosing who wins this battle. I don't think that regardless of what happens that shops will be closed in 2 years. (Retail cigar shops I mean). But this certainly will absolutely cripple and if allowed, will annihilate any growth for all but a couple big dogs who's cigars I have never been excited about. No offense, just my opine. Signed. " —May 18, 2016 08:37 AM
"I think it's pathetic how few people have signed the petition. Apathy is exactly what will mean that in 2 years time (maximum), our favourite B&Ms will be closed and we won't be able to buy anything at all except via the black market." —May 18, 2016 03:28 AM
"Please consider the toll that these misguided actions will have on the many hard working families involved in the premium cigar industry!!" —May 17, 2016 22:41 PM

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