From the deeming regulations hitting the cigar industry to the election, it’s been a busy year for tobacconists. To recap the year and what’s being done to make the business landscape better, the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) association released the following recap of 2016:
In 2016 the premium tobacco industry faced many legislative and regulatory challenges. The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) was at the forefront of each these battles on the federal and state levels, representing the interests of your business. Some of our notable achievements include:
FDA Lawsuit – IPCPR partnered with the Cigar Association of America, and the Cigar Rights of America to file suit against the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “Deeming Rule,” which violates numerous federal statutes and the federal rulemaking process. The court date is schedule for July 28, 2017.
Appropriations Language – IPCPR is pursuing a legislative solution to prevent FDA from using funds to enforce premium cigar provisions of FDA’s “Deeming Rule.” This language was supported in a bi-partisan fashion by the House Appropriations Committee. IPCPR initiated a grassroots campaign to make our members’ voices heard on Capitol Hill and increase the likelihood of the language advancing. We expect the Agriculture Appropriations bill to be the vehicle for the premium exemption language in 2017.
H.R. 662 and S. 441 – Through education and outreach to Representatives and Senators on Capitol Hill, legislation to define and exempt premium cigars from FDA regulation garnered 170 House and 22 Senate co-sponsors during the 114th Congress, respectively. Both H.R. 662 and S. 441 gained more co-sponsors during the 114th Congress than corresponding legislation in the 113th Congress.
FDA Toolbox – IPCPR launched an “FDA Toolbox” available at ipcprlegislative.org. The toolbox serves as a resource to help retailers, manufacturers, and consumers of premium tobacco products better understand, comply with, and combat FDA regulations.
Political Action Committee – IPCPR-PAC had a record-breaking 114th Congress, raising over $127,000. This represents a $41,500 increase over the previous Congress. Through your contributions to IPCPR-PAC, our influence in Washington, D.C. continues to grow. IPCPR-PAC contributed approximately $100,000 to our supporters this election cycle, and all but 3 Members of Congress supported by IPCPR-PAC were re-elected.
Regional Model – IPCPR began the implementation of a new regional state lobbying model. The plan brings state lobbying activities in house, eliminating the need for contract lobbyists in most states. Lobbyists have been hired to cover the southeastern and western territories so far. Modeled after the government affairs departments of some of the country’s most influential trade associations, IPCPR believes the new model will cut costs, expand influence, and allow state associations to focus on advocacy rather than fundraising.
State Legislation – IPCPR monitored over 500 individual state bills that could have impacted your small business, including smoking bans and tax increases. Approximately one percent of bills that were potentially harmful to your small business were enacted despite unyielding effort from the opposition. Thank you to our partner state associations and those who contacted elected officials regarding pending legislation.
Chicago Lawsuit – IPCPR and five industry allies filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago regarding a tobacco tax in violation of Illinois’s home rule statute. The court is expected to reach a decision on the legality of the tax this month. IPCPR anticipates a positive outcome for our 22 members in Chicago.
Ballot Measures – Tobacco tax increases were on the ballot in four states during the general election. Due to collaborative opposition campaigns, the initiatives in Missouri, North Dakota, and Colorado were defeated by a vote of the people. IPCPR’s partner state association in Colorado was particularly successful in engaging members in opposition to a 22 percent tax increase.
State Associations – For several years, IPCPR has helped establish networks of active retailers in states across the country to implement pro-tobacco legislative agendas and fight harmful proposals. IPCPR collaborated with partner state associations in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Michigan to achieve major legislative victories this year.
Social Media – Social media sites Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and similar platforms have become the primary way many Americans stay up-to-date on current events. In the second quarter of 2016 IPCPR engaged a social media consultant to keep our members informed on the platforms they find most relevant. IPCPR is now in the top .1 percent of influencers on the topics of premium tobacco and premium cigars.
Our government affairs team looks forward to continuing our work on your behalf in 2017. As always, do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. For all the latest news from the IPCPR, visit ipcpr.org.