Billboards Across Florida Urge the Public To Save the Premium Cigar Industry

Through the end of June, electronic billboards across Florida will carry messages informing the public about J.C. Newman’s “Save Cigar City” campaign. The billboards highlight the urgent threat that the premium cigar industry faces from excessive government regulation. They urge consumers to visit where they can submit comments to the FDA asking that it exempt premium cigars from regulation.

Our goal is to spread the word about how America’s historic premium cigar industry is under serious threat from excessive government regulation,” said Eric Newman, President of J.C. Newman. “According to the FDA’s own estimates, regulation will put up to half of the cigar industry out of business — including the last operating cigar factory in ‘Cigar City’.”

In 1886, Vicente Martinez Ybor moved his cigar factory to Tampa. Soon, many others followed and Tampa became known around the world as “Cigar City.” Due to rising costs and government regulation, all of Tampa’s cigar factories either closed or moved overseas in the past few decades, except for J.C. Newman’s 108-year-old, historic factory.

Two years ago, the FDA decided to apply the same enormous and costly regulations developed for the massive cigarette industry to all tobacco products — including artisanal, hand-crafted cigars like those that J.C. Newman rolls in its historic Tampa cigar factory. According to recent estimates, the cost for J.C. Newman to comply with the new regulations exceeds $30 million — more than three times the factory’s annual revenue. This spring, the FDA began a new rulemaking process to reconsider the regulation of premium cigars. As part of this process, the FDA is accepting public comments through June 25, 2018. The public can submit comments to FDA through

Premium cigars are an integral part of the fabric of Tampa and the state of Florida,” said Bobby Newman, Executive Vice President of J.C. Newman. “These billboards will help us tell the story of the importance of the cigar industry to our community and will explain the effect that excessive government regulations is having on Tampa’s historic premium cigar industry.

Based on daily traffic levels, the “Save Cigar City” billboards are expected to be viewed more than two million times by June 25. The electronic billboards complement the large banners visible from Interstate 4 that J.C. Newman has hung from its iconic 108-year-old cigar factory’s clock tower in Tampa’s Ybor City National Historic Landmark District and the 100,000 postage-paid FDA comment cards that J.C. Newman has distributed to premium cigar retailers across the country.

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