The following article was contributed by the Cigar Association of America (CAA)
As the cigar industry navigates through these turbulent times, CAA continues its work on behalf of the entire industry. Our industry, more than any other in the tobacco sector, has had success in legal, regulatory, and legislative matters, and CAA and its members have taken leadership roles in defending the industry and contributing to these successes. Among other efforts, this has included:
- Spending $4.1 million on FDA litigation and engagement in Washington D.C.
- Spending $14.5 million on federal, state, and local lobbying efforts over the last six years
- CAA member companies contributing several million dollars of legal work through their own internal and outside counsel
- Being the only voice representing the cigar industry at the state and local levels
It’s therefore unfortunate that the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) and Cigar Rights of America (CRA) continue making the unfounded allegation that CAA and its members have not provided funding for the lawsuit. Once again, this is simply and 100 percent false. As an initial matter, much of the PCA funding for the litigation has come from CAA members, who have been among the largest exhibitors at the annual tradeshow. CAA and its members took the lead in 2016 in getting the litigation filed. CAA has been fully committed to supporting these legal proceedings – financially and otherwise – from the beginning. The lawsuit has resulted in FDA cigar health warnings being thrown out, a delay in costly constituent testing, and relief from premarket review requirements for premium cigars. These successes benefit the entire industry and are the result of efforts by the entire industry. Indeed, it was CAA and its members who resisted ill-advised and repeated efforts by others in our industry to dismiss the lawsuit and refile it elsewhere. Were it not for CAA, its member companies, and its litigation counsel standing firm by insisting the lawsuit remain in Washington DC, the industry would not have had the opportunity to enjoy the successes we achieved. That would have been nothing short of disastrous. CAA’s support of these efforts, financial and otherwise, will continue.
In addition, CAA actively engages in lobbying – on behalf of the entire cigar industry – at the federal, state, and local levels. In fact, CAA is the only voice representing the cigar industry at the state and local levels. As examples, CAA sued Chicago over an onerous tax increase. The case went to the Illinois Supreme Court, which recently threw out the ordinance. We achieved similar success in a Maryland lawsuit that also went to the state’s highest court. CAA also sued Philadelphia, challenging a local ordinance that would have shut down most cigar retailers in the city – including an iconic store owned by a CRA member. That case went to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which threw out the ordinance. Right now, CAA is working against efforts in New York and California that would increase taxes.