While we wait for an official statement from Cigar Rights of America and IPCPR regarding Option 1, my co-worker and I have browsed the 499 page document this is what we were able to get out of it. I will preface this with the fact we are not lawyers, and this is our interpretation of what we read.
With the choosing of Option 1, all brands that were on the market prior to February, 2007 would be exempt from FDA Regulation. All brands that came on the market after that date would be allowed to remain on the market while they file for FDA approval which would need to be obtained in 2 years, although the possibility of filing for a 6 month extension does seem possible. This makes the make or break date for a brand the end of 2018. It will either get FDA approval, or cease to exist.
Companies will still be allowed to release new product up until August 8th, 2016 but any cigars that come to market after that date would need to get FDA approval first which would severely hamper the release of new brands and blends.
Cigar mail order such as 2guyscigars.com would continue to operate as the FDA does not plan on prohibiting the sale of tobacco via the internet, which allows me to keep my day job where I work the internet side for a major US Retailer (Two Guys Smoke Shop).
The question that remains can the August 8, 2016 date change and the answer is yes as it is expected that the cigar industry will file lawsuits to delay the new ruling, and hopefully change the ruling while preventing the changing of an industry that has long been a part of American culture.
Also, as we reported on in the past, the House is currently reviewing FY17 which would provide an exemption for premium cigars and/or change the predicate date from 2007 to May 10, 2016. If the language remains in the bill it would be a major win for cigar manufacturers, retailers and consumers.