Legislation

Members Of Congress: Tobacco Control Act Never Intended For Handmade Cigars

Aug 6, 2018 | By Blake Droesch
Members Of Congress: Tobacco Control Act Never Intended For Handmade Cigars

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, all of whom voted for the Tobacco Control Act in 2009, have come out in support of an exemption for handmade cigars. In a letter addressed to FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, 13 members of Congress expressed concern over the agency’s decision to regulate handmade cigars, as they do not believe it is “consistent with the intent of the Tobacco Control Act.”

The letter, dated July 23—just two days before the FDA’s commenting period deadline—was signed by members of the 111th United States Congress, which was active between January 3, 2009 and January 3, 2011. During this time it passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the bill that gave the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulatory control over the U.S. tobacco industry. The FDA did not announce its intention to regulate handmade cigars until 2016, an action that did not require further legislation. 

Now, 13 members of Congress who helped give the FDA the authority to make this decision are saying that regulating handmade cigars would not advance the agenda of the Tobacco Control Act. 

"Specifically as to Congressional intent, throughout the findings section of the law, two themes are clear: preventing underage access to tobacco products and mitigating the health effects of habitual consumption of addictive tobacco products,” the letter says. "We continue to strongly support these goals and recognize the critical progress FDA's actions have made in advancing the public health. However, we do not believe applying the agencies current regulatory regime to premium cigars as described above is consistent with the intent of the Tobacco Control Act."

The list was signed by a coalition of eight Democrats and five Republicans:

  • U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL)
  • U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL)
  • U.S. Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis (R-FL)
  • U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL)
  • U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
  • U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)
  • U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO)
  • U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
  • U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
  • U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)
  • U.S. Rep. Robert A. Brady (D-PA)
  • U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV)
  • U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)

The letter also expresses support of the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act and its definition of premium cigars, which they believe is “grounded in a rational basis and is accepted widely.” 
 

FDA

More in Legislation

See all
Court Strikes Down FDA’s Cigar Warning Label Plan

Court Strikes Down FDA’s Cigar Warning Label Plan

A trio of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington D.C. Circuit ruled unanimously this …

Jul 7, 2020
Florida Representatives Urge President to Drop Cigar Industry Regulations

Florida Representatives Urge President to Drop Cigar Industry Regulations

In response to the economic downturn, a dozen representatives from Florida have signed and sent a …

Jun 8, 2020
Court Ruling Ends Chances of 2021 Deadline for FDA Product Reports

Court Ruling Ends Chances of 2021 Deadline for FDA Product Reports

The FDA’s pre-market application deadline for cigars will remain September 9 after a trio of judges …

May 5, 2020
Judge Extends Deadline for FDA Product Approval Reports

Judge Extends Deadline for FDA Product Approval Reports

Cigar manufacturers received a bit of good news last week as the FDA’s premarket application deadline …

Apr 28, 2020
New York State Raising Cigar Taxes This Fall

New York State Raising Cigar Taxes This Fall

New York state lawmakers passed a $177 billion budget for 2021 that includes a tax rate of 75 percent …

Apr 15, 2020
FDA Asks Court for Extension of Key Product Deadline Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

FDA Asks Court for Extension of Key Product Deadline Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration filed a motion in court requesting a 120-day extension of the …

Mar 31, 2020