There’s a new legislative push to exclude handcrafted premium cigars from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation. H.R. 3982, known as “Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act,” was introduced by Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-FL) and Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill is a companion to S. 438, introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this year by Sen. Marco Rubio [read more here]. H.R. 3982 sets out to exclude handcrafted premium cigars from the same FDA regulations cigarettes and other deemed tobacco products are subject to.
In 2016, the FDA was granted the power and authority to regulate all deemed tobacco products as it does cigarettes, including cigars. There have been several lawsuits challenging the FDA’s regulations of cigars with wins on both sides, most notably last year’s court decision to delaying the final deeming rule for premium cigars [read more here]. Representatives Castor and Posey have been introducing similar bills to H.R. 3982 since 2011. In the last Congress, this bill had bi-partisan support with 84 members of Congress co-sponsoring the bill. It was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives but was not considered in the U.S. Senate.
Drew Newman, a fourth-generation cigar maker and owner of J.C. Newman Cigar Co., issued the following statement about H.R. 3982:
“Premium cigars are natural, handcrafted products that are distinct from cigarettes and all other types of tobacco products. Since the FDA decided to regulate premium cigars like cigarettes, our historic industry has been under threat because we are unable to comply with the costly and cumbersome regulatory regime created for mass-market tobacco products. Because FDA’s own research shows that premium cigars are distinct from cigarettes, it does not make sense to treat them the same.”
“Earlier this month, FDA announced that it is proposing new requirements for how tobacco products must be manufactured, tested, packed, and stored. Such standards may make sense for cigarettes. Because premium cigars are rolled by hand and each one is different, it could be impossible for premium cigars to meet FDA’s new standards.
“My family and I are extremely grateful to Representatives Castor and Posey for their steadfast leadership in advocating for Florida’s historic premium cigar industry and the thousands of jobs and hundreds of small businesses that it supports across the state.”