In its never-ending quest to protect our troubled, misguided youth from the scourge of premium cigars, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that it has issued warning letters to several retailers for selling newly regulated tobacco products to minors.
All in all, the FDA said that 55 retailers recently received warning letters for selling tobacco products such as e-cigarettes, e-liquids and cigars (!) to youths under the age of 18. In the announcement, the FDA boasts about the large number of compliance checks it has conducted since 2009, and there is even a quotation from Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, lauding the agency's protective endeavor.
However, there is one minor detail that the FDA overlooked in its boisterous announcement: Not one of the retailers received a warning letter because they sold a premium cigar to a minor. Zero. Zilch. Nil.
The list (which you can check out here) is filled with gas stations, pharmacies and convenience stores, but only one actual shop that sells premium cigars. It's violation? Selling a CAO Cherry Bomb, a flavored smoke. The rest of the violations largely consist of selling machine-made cigars and vaping-related products.
This is precisely what those in the cigar industry, from cigar lobbying organizations to cigarmakers and Cigar Aficionado, have said all along: Children under the age of 18 don't sneak into cigar shops to purchase handmade, premium cigars.