Texas Cigar Businesses Sue FDA Over Warning Label Regulations

Texas Cigar Businesses File Lawsuit Against FDA

Three Texas-based cigar businesses have filed a new lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This new lawsuit specifically targets the FDA’s new warning label requirements.

The new lawsuit was filed Jan. 11, 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The three businesses–Texas Cigar Merchants Association (TXCMA), El Cubano Cigars, and En Fuego Tobacco Shop–argues that the warning label requirements imposed by the Deeming Rule [read more here] violates the first amendment among many other laws including one that requires the government to follow certain steps before introducing new laws, known as the Administrative Procedure Act.

The warning label regulations have been a point of contention for many in the tobacco industry, with cigar manufacturers now required to not only display a series of warning labels on their packaging and advertising but also submit a plan to the FDA for approval a year in advance. Many in the industry have argued that the new requirements will cover up much of the box and packaging of the product, an important part of the marketing and what sets apart many of the products.

The Texas lawsuit, which is separate from the lawsuit filed by cigar industry trade groups, argues that the warning labels “seizing 30 percent of each of the two principal panels of a package, the [Final] Rule takes up to 475 percent more of the surface area of the package than the FTC warnings do” and that the “new required warnings will cover up space where manufacturers and retailers speak to consumers.”

In addition, the lawsuit suggests that the FDA Deeming Rule isn’t in the government’s best interest because there isn’t enough research to back up the claim that including these warning labels on products will reduce the use or consumption of cigar products.

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