APA and partners advocate for regulation of cigars

Groups like The International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association and Cigar Rights of America want at least high-end cigars exempted from regulatory oversight and associated taxation.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, P.L. 111-31, gave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) immediate authority to regulate cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco in 2009. Further, it established a process for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to assert jurisdiction over other tobacco products, including cigars, and determine which requirements are appropriate for the protection of public health. As part of that process, FDA plans to issue a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in April to assert jurisdiction over all tobacco products. However, groups like The International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association and Cigar Rights of America want at least high-end cigars exempted from regulatory oversight and associated taxation. Legislation to do just that was introduced during the last session of Congress and those same bill sponsors have signaled their intent to do so again during this session. On Feb. 15 Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., introduced H.R.792, a bill with 15 cosponsors that purportedly contains language to provide a definition of traditional and premium cigars that would exempt them from FDA regulation. The bill text wasn't available as this issue of ASPN went to press but should be available soon. As rates of cigar smoking increase among youth and amid overwhelming evidence that all tobacco products are inherently toxic, APA partnered with the Center for Tobacco Free Kids and other leading public health advocates to send a letter to all Members of the House and Senate on Feb. 15, opposing any legislation that would provide a cigar exemption (PDF, 316KB).

For more information on this issue contact Geoff Mumford.