The premium cigar industry is coming together for an urgent plea to cigar lovers, calling upon them to ask Congress—specifically Speaker of the House Paul Ryan—to exempt premium, handmade cigars from regulation by the Food and Drug Administration.
Congress is currently in budget talks, and one of the items on the table is legislative protection of the premium cigar industry. This week, the Cigar Rights of America, the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers association and several cigar companies, including Davidoff, Ashton, J.C. Newman and Xikar, reached out to their consumer base to urge them to contact Speaker Ryan and make their voices heard before Congress breaks for the holidays, which is expected soon.
FDA regulation could change the way cigars are made, sold and enjoyed in the United States, resulting in losses of jobs throughout the industry and making it harder for cigar aficionados to find and enjoy great cigars. Exemption would allow the industry to continue as it does today.
The proposed exemption, embraced by makers of fine cigars, has opposition. "There are efforts within big tobacco and the nonprofit health care sector to prevent legislative protection of the premium cigar industry," said Glynn Loope, executive director of the CRA. "For several years, stakeholders from across the premium cigar industry have been fighting on Capitol Hill to preserve the products and lifestyle we love. The culmination of that fight is now at hand. Congress is currently considering how to extend funding for the federal government and, in the context of that debate, considering what federal regulations can be addressed to prevent massive loss of jobs and the decimation of whole industries."
"It's imperative that Congress understands the facts about premium, handmade cigars," said Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of Cigar Aficionado magazine. "They are enjoyed by an adult audience, they are made in an artisanal process that has been unchanged for generations and it's our right as Americans to enjoy them as we see fit. Not to mention tens of thousands of factory and field workers in the Caribbean and Central America would lose their jobs, creating huge unemployment in these areas."
To reach out to Speaker Paul Ryan now, call his office: (202) 225-0600
Also, contact his Twitter account here.
For complete instructions, visit this page from the CRA: