If you thought the legal back-and-forth between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the cigar industry was over after the U.S. District Court in D.C. ruled in favor of the FDA meant things were over, think again [read more here]. In the latest development, the cigar trade groups that first filed the lawsuit against the FDA are now filing a motion in hopes of delaying the FDA’s warning label requirement that goes into effect on Aug. 10, 2018.
The cigar trade groups including the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR), Cigar Association of America (CAA), and Cigar Rights of America (CRA) are pushing for a postponement in the FDA’s requirement that all premium cigar packaging and marketing include one of six FDA-approved warning statements or else those products won’t be able to be sold or marketed in the U.S. [read more here]. As it is, this warning statement requirement will officially begin on Aug. 10, 2018, but the cigar trade groups want this requirement to be delayed until 60 days after the court rules on the motion.
The warning statement requirement has been a controversial item that’s been the source of argument between cigar manufacturers and retailers and the FDA. Many cigar businesses and groups have argued that the warning statements infringe on company’s First Amendment-granted freedom of commercial speech. Others argue that the vagueness of how this requirement will be implemented and monitored makes it problematic. How it applies to social media, how companies must submit their warning statement plans and receive pre-approval from the FDA before marketing any products, and the FDA’s recent release of an ANPRM to re-evaluate its regulation of premium cigars have all been used as arguments against the warning statement requirement. Even U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta, who presided over the case that was argued in D.C., commented that he felt there was some unfairness in the FDA’s requirements when the agency itself seemed to be re-evaluating its regulation of premium cigars.
The cigar trade groups also argue that the FDA’s deeming rules have been costly, confusing and time consuming. For all the latest legislation and FDA news impacting the tobacco industry, click here.