Premium Cigar Exemption Included in FY 2019 Agriculture Appropriations Bill

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remium Cigar Exemption Included in FY 2019 Agriculture Appropriations Bill

Language calling for the exemption of premium cigars from regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was included in the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations’ FY 2019 budget.

If passed, premium cigars would be spared from the regulations proposed by the FDA back in 2016. Only cigars defined as premium would be excluded from the FDA’s regulations. In another development, the predicate date would be moved from the current Feb. 15, 2007 date to April 25, 2014, when the FDA first revealed its draft of the deeming regulations.

Following the recent moves made by the FDA, the bill gets tougher on e-cigarettes and vapor products, calling for a ban of use of them on school property, tougher age verification requirements online and money in the amount of $50 million for a new awareness program.

Scott Pearce, the new executive director of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR), wrote: “I think we’ve seen broad recognition on and off Capitol Hill that FDA’s regulatory regime for premium cigars has been deeply flawed since it was introduced four years ago. IPCPR and CRA applaud Congressmen Cole, Bishop and all of our supporters on Capitol Hill for finding a sensible legislative solution that provides premium tobacconists and manufacturers certainty. Congress never intended for the premium industry to endure the regulatory burdens imposed by the FDA. Today’s vote reinforces that.”

Cigar Association of America (CAA) President Craig Williamson added: “After working on two separate amendments of the past four years, the groups realized that we are stronger working together to accomplish the same goal–the protection of the entire cigar industry.”

To that, Cigar Rights of America (CRA) executive director Glynn Loope added: “This amendment once again sends a clear message that the regulations advanced by the FDA go well beyond the congressional intent of the Tobacco Control Act. We extend our appreciation to our legislative co-sponsors that have served as champions for this language, as well as proponents of regulatory reform as it applies to cigars with the President’s Administration.”

This follows recent news that the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of the FDA, allowing for the implementation of warning label regulation and increased user fees [read more here]. It will likely take months for both chambers of Congress to settle on a final spending bill, with the omnibus expected in December similar to last year.

For all the latest legislation and FDA news impacting the tobacco industry, click here.

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