News | 2015 Budget Contains Cigar Language

The following comes from Cigar Rights of America:

Legislative efforts following a two year joint campaign that began with the refiling of H.R. 792 and S. 772, has culminated in a direct message being conveyed from the U.S. Congress to the FDA that premium cigars should not be regulated.

This effort, first addressed by the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee this spring when FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg was questioned about the issue, evolved into the inclusion of language in the Committee’s funding report for FDA.  During the year-end marathon session of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate which resulted in the “CRomnibus” budget package retained that report language that specifically focused on the regulation of premium cigars. That language is as follows:

“Regulations.- The Committee is encouraged that FDA has provided options for a way forward on distinguishing between premium cigars and other tobacco products in its recently proposed rule ”Deeming Tobacco Products To Be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as Amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act; Regulations on the Sale and Distribution of Tobacco Products and Required Warning Statements for Tobacco Products” (Docket No. FDA-2014-N-0189). In particular, the Committee notes that FDA is considering excluding premium cigars from the scope of this proposed rule through Option 2. The Committee believes this could be a viable solution, given that the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act makes little mention of cigars throughout the legislation, and there is even less evidence that Congress intended to focus on the unique subset of premium cigars. The Committee notes that premium cigars are shown to be distinct from other tobacco products in their effects on youth initiation, the frequency of their use by youth and young adults, and other such behavioral and economic factors.”

Cigar Rights of America is encouraged that the report language is an expression of the true Congressional intent not to see premium cigars regulated by the FDA.  The language sends yet another message to the FDA that premium hand-made cigars are a unique product not deserving of draconian regulations that could decimate the industry.

Although this language is a positive step forward, as we prepare to enter the 114th Congress, it does not eliminate the need for an unambiguous Congressional exemption for premium cigars from FDA oversight so manufacturers are able to plan for the future of their businesses.

Going into the 114th Congress that will be sworn in on January 6, 2014, CRA will continue to meet with Members of Congress and their staff with a resounding message that the existing regulatory proposal would cripple the premium cigar industry and that there needs to be a legislative exemption granted to protect premium cigars at all levels from the consumer to the manufacturer.