The Food and Drug Administration announced its Final Ruling on May 5, and cigar lovers, retail shop owners and manufacturers were understandably outraged. The restrictions the FDA wishes to impose—banning free samples, increasing warning labels on packaging and requiring new blends to undergo a costly, time-consuming approval process, just to name a few—would drastically affect the cigar industry.
The war to keep the government agency from regulating premium cigars may appear all but lost, but there is still a chance to stop it from happening. Your support is needed.
For starters, lovers of the leaf can sign the White House petition created by J. Glynn Loope, executive director of the Cigar Rights of America. The petition calls for the Obama Administration to further review the FDA’s ruling and reconsider its decision to heavily regulate premium cigars. In order for the White House to respond the petition needs 100,000 signatures by June 10. Currently, 7,233 people have signed it. You can sign the petition at the following link. (After signing, be sure check your email inbox, including your spam folder, for a verification note to confirm your signature. And don’t forget to share the petition to your Facebook and Twitter account for others to see.)
The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers association has also updated its website and opened up its FDA Toolbox section for all to view. There you will find an overview of the FDA regulations, a compliance timeline, and tools under the “Take Action” rubric that make it easy to contact your respective legislators and urge them to support two cigar-friendly bills, H.R. 662 and S. 441. (The CRA also has a similar tool for its new Congressional petition at the following link.)
These bills, known as the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act and introduced last February, amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to exempt traditional large and premium cigars from FDA regulation. Right now, 164 representatives support H.R. 662 as either sponsors or co-sponsors, with 21 senators supporting S. 441. Currently, both bills have been referred to their respective committees.
So whether you are a daily cigar smoker or only enjoy the occasional smoke, act now and join the fight.