Appropriations Subcommittee Moves To Protect Premium Cigars

International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Applauds U.S. House Effort to Protect Premium Cigar Industry from Onerous Regulation

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies released the draft legislation for FY2017 which included a provision to protect premium cigars from undue FDA regulation.

The language states,

SEC. 749. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce the proposed rule with the regulation identifier number 0910–AG38 published by the Food and Drug Administration in the Federal Register on April 25, 2014 (79 Fed. Reg. 23142) if such rule would apply to traditional large and premium cigars. For the purposes of this section, the term traditional large and premium cigar means—
(1) any roll of tobacco that is wrapped in 100 percent leaf tobacco, bunched with 100 perfect tobacco filler, contains no filter, tip or non-tobacco mouthpiece, weighs at least 6 pounds per 1,000 count, and—

(A) has a 100 percent leaf tobacco binder and is hand rolled;

(B) has a 100 percent leaf tobacco binder and is made using human hands to lay the leaf tobacco wrapper or binder onto only one machine that bunches, wraps, and caps each individual cigar; or

(C) has a homogenized tobacco leaf binder and is made in the United States using human hands to lay the 100 percent leaf tobacco wrapper onto only one machine that bunches, wraps, and caps each individual cigar; and

(2) is not a cigarette or a little cigar (as such terms are defined in paragraphs (3) and (11), respectively, of section 900 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act).

Craig Cass, President of IPCPR and owner of Tinder Box Cigars in Charlotte, NC, stated “This is an important first step in protecting small businesses throughout the United States from onerous FDA regulation that would cost jobs in our communities. Premium cigars are adult products that are sold in adult only controlled environments. The House Appropriations subcommittee on Agriculture recognizes the important difference between premium cigars and other tobacco products in the marketplace.

John Anderson, 2nd Vice President of IPCPR and owner of W. Curtis Draper Tobacconist in Washington, DC continued,“The House Appropriations Committee has worked tirelessly to protect the premium cigar retailers that make up main street America. As a retailer in Washington, DC, I am proud to see the Agriculture subcommittee take a bi-partisan leadership role in standing up against unreasonable government regulation which is simply aimed at shutting down small businesses. This provision, if signed into law, will keep the doors to my business open.

Harris Saunders, President of the Alabama Tobacconist Association and owner of Birmingham Cigars in Birmingham, AL weighed in on the impact for his state, saying “Once again, Congressman Aderholt has proven essential as a friend to small businesses in the state of Alabama. His leadership will allow me and small businesses to continue creating jobs throughout the state. Misguided efforts by the FDA have threatened our livelihoods for too long. We are encouraged that Rep. Aderholt continues to watch out for the little guy.

The IPCPR has been working in partnership with Cigar Rights of America to advance legislation to protect premium cigars from burdensome, and in fact, decimating new regulations proposed by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Kip Talley, Senior Director of Federal Affairs at IPCPR in Washington, DC weighed in, stating “The premium cigar industry’s advocacy efforts to educate Members of Congress have begun to come to fruition with the inclusion of language in the U.S. House Agriculture Appropriations bill to exempt premium cigars from FDA regulation. The threat of regulation has hampered small business retailers for far too long. Chairman Robert Aderholt (R-AL) understands the important role these small businesses play in our communities. He also recognizes that premium cigars are sold in a controlled adult environment, and are not accessible or marketed to America’s youth.

Talley affirmed that the legislative fight is not over. “Though this is only a first step in a long process, IPCPR is encouraged by the bi-partisan effort and are fully supportive of the Appropriations Committee’s efforts to protect small businesses by preventing onerous regulation by the FDA Center for Tobacco Products.

The full draft legislation can be read at:

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