Members of Congress Push for Premium Cigar Regulatory Relief

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FDA | Premium Cigar Regulation

Twelve members of Congress have written a letter to President Donald Trump urging that he and his administration end the regulations imposed on the premium cigar industry by the previous administration.

In a letter sent to President Trump on June 5, this congressional group commends the president for issuing Executive Order 13924 on May 19, 2020, which provided regulatory relief to support the restoration of American jobs and supported broad economic recovery after COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to close. This order, however, serves as the basis of their argument that the premium cigar industry deserves relief from the increased regulations introduced by the Obama-Biden Administration.

“This unique industry is compromised of scores of small manufacturers and thousands of small business retail shops, many of whom were struggling to survive the regulations prior to the pandemic–surely most will be wiped out after the pandemic should the regulations not be rescinded,” the group states in the letter.

The letter ultimately calls for the elimination of these regulations which, according to the group, would help save jobs and small businesses across the U.S. This letter was signed by Bill Posey, Gus M. Bilirakis, Mario Diaz-Balart, Matt Gaetz, Francis Rooney, Ross Spano, Michael Waltz, Neal P. Dunn, M.D., Brian Mast, John H. Rutherford, W. Gregory Steube, and Ted S. Yoho, D.V.M. Here’s the letter in its entirety:

Dear Mr. President,
We write to commend your Executive Order 13924 issues on May 19, 2020, to provide regulatory relief to support the restoration of American jobs and broader economic recovery. One egregious regulation that we believe fits squarely within the purview of E.O.13924 involves an Obama-Biden Administration regulation on premium cigars. This unique industry is comprised of scores of small manufacturers and thousands of small business retail shops, many of whom were struggling to survive the regulations prior to the pandemic -surely most will be wiped out after the pandemic should the regulations not be rescinded. We are aware your Administration has been reviewing these regulations and urge you to prioritize action. The premium cigar industry has a rich history in Florida and the state is home to hundreds of small business retail stores and scores of manufacturer headquarters collectively employing thousands of Floridians.

When Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act in 2009, it sought to achieve two noble goals–eliminate consumption of tobacco products by underage youth and prevent the scientifically proven negative health effects of addiction to tobacco products. Neither of these elements apply to the premium cigar industry as its products are exclusively marketed to adult consumers who enjoy them in moderation. We are aware that FDA’s own research has shown this to be the case.

Efforts to eliminate the applicability of these onerous, job-killing regulations has received broad support over the years including co-sponsorship of former Congressmen Mike Pence, Mark Meadows, Mick Mulvaney and Mike Pompeo. Elimination of these regulations will preserve jobs and small businesses in each of our districts and across the country. If these regulations are permitted to remain in force, these businesses will close their doors and a niche industry which has existed for hundreds of years will be fundamentally destroyed. We appreciate the efforts that have been underway for some time through the Domestic Policy Council and urge you to consider ensuring that a determination is made as quickly as possible to enable these U.S. cigar manufacturers and retail establishments to keep their doors open and Americans employed. Thank you for your consideration of our views.

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